a banner for the Yale Symposium on Olive Oil and Health listing the location, hosts, and topics

Concerned that the World Health Organization’s latest guidelines defining “healthy diets” calls for a limitation of total fat intake to a level below that in the traditional Mediterranean diet, prominent scientists have signed a statement requesting that the recommended level be increased, and a distinction be made between fats and oils, and among oils.

Dan Flynn chairing the session

At the 2nd Cretan Lifestyle Conference in Rethymno in November, Harvard University professor of medicine Stefanos Kales suggested that the first Hellenic Olive Network be created. Several experts agreed to invite Greek scientists working on olive trees and their products, as well as interested companies and farmers’ associations, to join such a network.

NAOOA executive director Joseph Profaci giving a talk, with a slide about olive oil on a screen behind him

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), whose members represent over half the olive oil sold in the USA, plans to commission the nation’s most comprehensive, rigorous olive oil testing study. In the spirit of collaboration, the NAOOA has invited other industry stakeholders to provide both strategic and financial support for this important project.

bottles of Greek extra virgin olive oil on supermarket shelves

Is olive oil expensive now? It depends on how you look at it. If you compare prices to a year or two ago, yes. If you consider the price per serving, the cost compared to other purchases, and extra virgin olive oil’s contributions to your food’s flavor and health benefits, no: we are not paying as much as this cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet is worth.

Chloe and Eftychis with olive groves and hills behind them

Two flourishing Cretan olive oil companies founded by Greek innovators have begun a unique new collaboration. Now working together in the olive mill at Biolea’s Astrikas Estate in Crete, Biolea and Pamako have presented Crete’s first restaurant in an olive mill and Greece’s first modern production line to operate alongside a stone mill and hydraulic press.

burned olive trees on bare ground, one in the right foreground with a large hole in it

After a megafire burned across the southern part of the regional unit of Evros in northeastern Greece for 17 days, olive farmers and experts are assessing losses and considering steps toward regeneration. Fires around the Dadia national park and the city of Alexandroupoli merged in the largest wildfire ever recorded in Europe, with devastating results. 

two men pouring oranges from a crate into a machine full of olives in an olive oil mill

With its base in the USA and its olive groves in Laconia, Greece, the Laconiko olive oil company has been ranked the most awarded producer of flavored olive oils in the world—not once, but twice—and among the top three another year. Laconiko’s healthy flavored olive oils make a wide range of tastes readily available for convenient use in American kitchens.  

several bottles of olive oil from three different brands on display on a table

With the tourist season underway in Greece, restaurants are welcoming visitors to enjoy the mouth-watering Greek dishes that delight diners from across the globe. Since Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean diet would hardly exist without olive oil, many believe this liquid gold should have a place of honor on restaurant tables, as Greek law now allows.

a banner advertising the conference and its sponsors

Organized by the non-profit Scientific Society of Olive Encyclopaedists, also known as 4E, a two-day international conference titled “Modern Methods of Olive Fruit Fly Control” was held at the Agricultural University of Athens in Greece. The conference was well attended, both in person and via live-streaming. OliveNews.gr shared the following press release.

Two women sitting at a table at the Food Expo with a bag and papers related to the LIVINGAGRO project in front of them

During the Food Expo at the Metropolitan Expo Center in Athens on March 18-20, 2023, Greek stakeholders in the olive, olive oil, dairy, and meat sectors learned about the ENI CBC MED LIVINGAGRO project, Cross-Border Living Laboratories for Agroforestry. Several exhibitors shared their views on the benefits of innovation and agroforestry in the olive sector.

Four hands sorting large green olives

An hour’s drive southeast of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the regional unit of Halkidiki (Chalkidiki) draws visitors to its beaches, forested mountains, religious and archaeological sites, and olive groves. Those groves produce the area’s famous big green table olives. For a decade they have also yielded high quality extra virgin olive oil.

a many in a jacket and tie displaying a donut-shaped ceramic olive oil bottle in a gift box

From March 18 to 20, more than 31,000 food industry professionals from 83 countries joined 1,300 exhibitors at the Food Expo in the Metropolitan Expo Center near the Athens airport. At several of the many stands featuring Greek olive oil and table olives, company representatives presented their products and innovations and shared their views of the sector.

two men harvesting olives in a grove using hand-held harvesters

Looking to the future, Greek experts anticipate challenges for the Greek olive oil sector, but also see potential for positive developments. Considering the situation of the Greek olive oil industry in and beyond 2022, including ongoing climate change and production and export models and plans, they offer a variety of predictions and recommendations.

a young man drinking fresh olive oil in an olive mill

Looking back at 2022, Greek experts shared their views on the Greek olive oil sector. They mentioned the large quantity of olive oil produced recently in Greece (in contrast to Spain and Italy), as well as its high quality and fairer price for producers. However, they were concerned about a shortage of laborers and the costliness of energy and fertilizer.

The Nutri-Score label for a product graded C

A debate continues in Europe about front-of-pack labeling systems for packaged food, with the European Commission (EC) planning to propose one scheme for mandatory use throughout the European Union. The EC is considering at least four labeling schemes, with the best-known, Nutri-Score, receiving significant criticism from the olive oil sector, among others.

two men in a vineyard in Crete, one holding a grapevine

The Hellenic Center for Excellence in Health & Wellness is being established as a non-profit in the USA to sponsor research and educational programs in Crete, Greece in partnership with the Grecotel hotel chain. The goal is to increase awareness of the health benefits of the traditional Cretan diet and lifestyle, starting with an autumn conference in Crete.

A member of parliament and the secretary general of CIHEAM cutting the ribbon for the garden, with spectators around them

A Garden of Peace with 21 varieties of olive trees was inaugurated on July 19 at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) in Crete, Greece. The trees come from the 21 olive-growing countries that represent 95% of the world’s olive production. Viewed as a symbol of peace for millennia, olive trees are the sole focus of this new garden.

an olive branch with olives and a partly cloudy, partly blue sky in the background

Five Greek olive oil experts discuss their expectations for the future of Greek olive oil. They express concern about substantial challenges that the sector must confront. Yet they also offer hope that by focusing on producing high quality olive oil, Greek producers will be able to impress more consumers around the world with distinctive Greek flavors.

an olive oil producer drinking fresh olive oil from a glass in the mill

In 2021, the Greek olive oil sector continued to show that its products offer both superb flavor and impressive health benefits. In spite of the challenges of the pandemic, economic struggles, climate change, and more, Greek olive oils won awards for quality and healthy components, and new discoveries and innovations helped offset some of the difficulties.

The Olive Lab & Shop, with shelves full of olive oil bottles on the right, a counter in the center, steps in the back leading up to the lab, and a refrigerator on the left

Near the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens, Greece, we find another “first” that builds on a central component of Greek culture and cuisine, olive oil. The Olive Lab & Shop is unique in featuring only olive oils certified with a European health claim, and testing them for healthy polyphenols right in the store.

olive branches with olives in the foreground, olives groves, hills, and sky in the background

In 2019, UNESCO officially declared November 26 World Olive Tree Day and added it to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The International Olive Council embraced the holiday, which is also known as World Olive Day or World Olive and Olive Oil Day. The olive tree and its products are now celebrated on this day with events in many countries.

Laconiko wide banner

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