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Olive millers using NIR to gain more from 2012 harvest

When the olive harvest in Spain and Portugal gets underway this November some forward-looking oil producers will have a new NIR tool to help them get the best from their olive presses.

An NIR analyser for testing olive paste and pomace was introduced by Foss in 2011. Now over 20 oil millers are equipped with the “Olivia” instrument which will help them to maintain consistent quality and avoid any waste of valuable oil in the crushing process. One of the first to use the solution in 2011 was Fernando Sánchez, owner of olive oil producers Almazara Las Torres. In an interview for the Foss In Focus magazine he explained how Olivia has given new insight into the true value of their raw material and the potential oil remaining in the pomace after the first press. “Before a solution like this, I could not control the fat content in the pomace and ended up throwing a lot away. But now I can retain that oil and make more money,” he said.

The Olivia is not the only such solution available to millers, but it offers the same reliability as measurements made by official laboratories. The Olivia is calibrated in the same way as another Foss instrument called the OliveScan that is used by the laboratories for quality control purposes. The calibration is built on a comprehensive database covering a wide range of olive varieties and harvest environments. It is designed for small to mid-size producers and includes an in-built PC with simple touch-screen operation that allows anyone to make a valid measurement. The sample is put in a sample cup up which is then placed the instrument. Results appear within a minute.

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