Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Salad Lowers Risk Of Pathogen Contamination
Extra Virgin Olive Oils, high in polyphenols lowered the risk of contamination in ready-to-eat salads from common food-borne pathogens by up to 90%, new research has found.
According to the study, reported in Olive Oil Times, eating salad with an extra virgin olive oil dressing may deactivate some of its potentially harmful contents, including some common types of bacteria.
The research from science direct shows that the phenolic composition of virgin olive oils contributes toward determining their antimicrobial activity against specific target pathogens.
It is understood that this might serve as an effective barrier against pathogens commonly found in ready-to-eat and quick salad bags.
The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Sassari in Sardinia and the Italian National Research Council investigated quick salad bags, which are responsible for a massive increase in salad consumption worldwide.
“We found that in a range going from a few seconds to 15 minutes, some olive oils can greatly reduce the harmful potential of the bacteria. At the same time, they do not destroy beneficial probiotics.”Severino Zara
“Quick salad bags are minimally processed foods consumed without the need for additional treatment,” the researchers wrote. “Their minimal processing guarantees the preservation of the product’s sensorial features but results in a shorter shelf-life.”
The researchers found that the risk of harmful contamination drops significantly by applying normal quantities of virgin olive oil to the quick salad bags and eating the salad after about 15 minutes. With certain virgin olive oils, the risk can drop by as much as 90 percent.
“We found that virgin olive oil can be considered a natural antimicrobial,” Severino Zara, the co-author of the study and an agricultural researcher at the University of Sassari, told Olive Oil Times.
“While research shows a growing catalog of studies certifying the excellent nutraceutical qualities of extra virgin olive oils, our research hints at another specific profile of virgin olive oils, which has not been sufficiently investigated yet,” he added. “Some of them can destroy up to 90 percent of the bacterial surface charge of many of the most common pathogens.”
Tests were conducted on salads commonly found on supermarket shelves. The leafy green vegetables were then examined, and any contaminants were removed. After, the salads were inoculated with pathogens such as Candida, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and Escherichia coli along with a few probiotics.
“The antimicrobial activity of the virgin olive oils was tested using quantities which are equal to a normal serving,” Zara said. “This means that we investigated what happens to 100 grams of contaminated salad when a consumer pours a typical virgin olive oil serving on it.”
Polyphenols In Extra Virgin Olive Oils Increase Effectiveness
However, not all virgin olive oils acted in the same way. Scientists had already noted different antimicrobial qualities in the olive oils from certain cultivars when analyzing their effect in a lab environment. They then proceeded to test their impact in a real-life situation such as a salad dressing.
The most effective cultivars contained higher levels of polyphenols.
Given the very mild effect of the addition of virgin olive oil on the probiotic content of the salad, which maintains their nutraceutical qualities intact, researchers believe that extra virgin olive oils high in polyphenols should be formally considered antimicrobial.
“Further studies are needed to confirm the results obtained,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, although this work strongly supports the utilization of olive oils, not only for their nutraceutical, but also for their antimicrobial properties, it is important to underline that its utilization could have some limits (also important to be examined closely) mostly due to the organoleptic modifications of olive oils when they are added as dressings if ready-to-eat food are not quickly consumed.”
“What we can say is that those who eat using highly polyphenolic olive oils are more protected against contaminations from very common pathogens, even more, when eating ready-to-eat food,” Zara concluded.
Morocco Gold Reaches Highest Ever Polyphenol Levels
A key aim with Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is to provide our discerning customers with as much information about our fabulous extra virgin olive oil as we can. That is why we include the results of our annual harvest analysis on each and every bottle of Morocco Gold so our customers can see at a glance the quality of our extra virgin olive oil.
We are delighted to share the headline results of our latest harvest analysis for Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.
Acidity level : 0.2%
Polyphenols : 649mg / kg
(Of which 372mg/kg is Tyrosol)
This is the highest level of polyphenols to date and confirms the ongoing high quality of this rare, delicious tasting extra virgin olive oil from this wonderful new source, together with its health enhancing qualities from its high polyphenol count.