Traceability refers to the the ability to discover information about where and how a product was made. Traceability is important because food fraud for economic gain has cursed the food industry throughout history. Some of the earliest reported cases of food fraud, dating back thousands of years, involved unsurprisingly olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is still a suitable and favourite target for fraudsters, its nutritional value and its health benefits make it a valuable commodity and consequently it is sold at a high price on the market and increasing prices and relatively low consumer capabilities to detect inauthentic olive oil create an appealing crime opportunity.
There are many national and international regulations that aim at increasing the traceability of EVOO for fraud repression as well as for customer and brand protection. There are also constantly evolving production and labelling regulations to try and control authenticity and insure quality standards.
Despite all these positive efforts, regulations and strict protocols it is undeniable that the more bodies lie between the producer and the consumer, the more difficult it will be to trace and certify a product for what it is and for where it comes from. Like most things in life if we demand to someone else the responsibility or our choices we may fall victim to conflicts of interest and in worst cases to fraud.