Olive oil solvents not so slippery

Spanish researchers have devised a new extraction and analytical procedure for detecting halogenated solvent residues in olive oil. Solvents such as bromoform are commonly used to extract olive from crude olive-pomace oils, but residues can be left behind. New regulations across the European Union strictly limit these residues and so quality control and regulators need detection technology that can cope with the limits. Jose Luis Gomez-Ariza of Huelva University explains that all these solvents are putative carcinogens so it is important that consumers are not exposed to higher than acceptable levels. Their method based on multiple headspace solid-phase microextraction (MHS-SPME) followed by the on-line coupling of gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD) and with an ICP-MS for the determination of these residues means exhaustive extraction and works well within the EU limits.