A team of experts in biotechnology and blockchain from Greece has used olive oil DNA to create a unique genetic barcode that is fraud-proof for every bottle. BioCoS is a Crete-based biotech firm that develops DNA-based traceability options for food products. It has created DNAblockchain, an antifraud traceability tool and claims it will ensure the traceability and authenticity of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). It means that high-end products won’t be compromised by lower quality imitations. The label on the bottle clearly states that the EVOO is authentic and safe for consumption. InTTrust is helping to create the DNAblockchain traceability tool.
BioCoS said that authentic EVOO will gain more recognition and growers will be motivated to preserve the diversity of the olive tree varieties. The high level of fraud in olive oil production is directly related to its economic value, the fragmented supply chain, and the liquid nature. Europol took 150 tonnes of sunflower oil that was claimed to have been olive oil in 2019. A second case was about 47 oil traders and two bottlers who were selling fake EVOO Protected Geographical Locations (PGI).
BioCoS is establishing DNA profiles of specific varieties of olives used in EVOO production. Koroneiki is the Greek variety responsible for approximately 60% of EVOO production. Intelligent data processing platforms use the DNA data to confirm the authenticity of EVOO. The information, along with additional data such as the quality characteristics and location of the olive grove, is integrated into a blockchain. Consumers can access the entire traceable story via a QR code on each EVOO bottle. If you added olive oil of a Greek variety (say 3-5%) to an Italian product you could trace the bottle via DNA analysis.
InTTrust and BioCoS are two of more than 75 companies, small to medium, that received funding for digital innovation from the EU’s EU S3FOOD project. This four-year, €5 million project aims at supporting, encouraging, and financing the European digital transformation in the food processing sector. A blockchain tool for cheese and a biosensor to detect pathogens in water are some other funded innovations.