q: Which MERcOsUR member countries
produce olive oil, and what is their annual
A: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Uruguay
are some of the main olive-oil- producing countries in Latin
America. There is also smaller-scale production in Bolivia,
Colombia, and Ecuador. The producing countries that are
members of MERCOSUR are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and
Uruguay. However, only Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay
are members of the Consejo Oleícola Internacional (IOC:
International Olive Council). According to information
provided by IOC, the 2014–2015 olive oil production in
Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, was 1,500, 6,000, and 24,000
metric tons (MT), respectively.
q: What are common methods of olive oil
production in Uruguay?
A: Only extra-virgin olive oil is produced in Uruguay. There
is no refining of oils of lesser quality, due to the lack of industrial plants for that purpose. Furthermore, Uruguay aims to
produce high-quality oils, and in consequence the priority is
to produce extra-virgin olive oil in compliance with analytical
testing as established by the methodology specified by IOC.
q: How is olive oil characterized, and how
do Uruguayan oils differ from those produced
in Mediterranean regions?
A: The fatty acid profile is an important parameter when
analyzing olive oil, and this profile is expected to fall within the
parameters established by IOC. Another important factor is
that of the polyphenols present in the oil. Many times, it is dif-
ficult to compare polyphenol levels among samples of different
origins due to differences in the methodology used. However,
recent studies performed in Spain report polyphenol levels on
two- or three-phase extraction olive oil ranging between 50
and 800 ppm. Uruguayan olive oil has polyphenol levels among
the reported ranges but below 400 ppm.
q: How would you describe the flavor
profile of Uruguayan olive oil?
A: The flavor profile of Uruguayan olive oil depends, as
in olive oil from any country of origin, on the olive cultivar, its
quality, and other factors such as climate and irrigation. Olive
oil arising from the Arbequina variety tends to be sweet, less
bitter and spicy, and with molasses notes, while other varieties such as Coratina and Picual have intensely bitter and spicy
notes. Uruguay has an IOC-recognized olive oil tasting panel
which has been active since the year 2012.
q: What are the waxes from Uruguayan
A: The waxes profile is influenced by olive variety, storage, and climatic conditions. In general, in Uruguayan extra
virgin olive oils the waxes are mostly comprised of 40 and
42 carbons, and waxes of 44 and 46 carbons are not usually