In May 2017 the World Olive Center for Health was founded in Athens (Greece), an entity dedicated to the study of the health properties of extra virgin olive oil that currently has 250 members, SMEs and olive oil producers from seven countries.
"The idea of the World Olive Center for Health was inspired by Dr. Eleni Melliou in 2013 during her research work at the UC Davis Olive Center in California, where she realized the need to launch a specialized, non-profit, non-governmental organization with worldwide activities, dedicated to the study of the health benefits of olive oil (and other olive products) and the certification of its healthy ingredients. The creation of the centre was initially proposed in 2015 as an activity of the European project INTERREG MED ARISTOIL, which was implemented in the period 2016-2020", says the organisation's secretary general, Prokopios Magiatis, an associate professor at the Department of Pharmacy of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens.
The main objective of this centre is to organise and support clinical trials with high phenolic olive oil and, in parallel, to provide certification for olive oil with a health claim, training of producers, specific research on health protection and therapeutic properties of olive products.
Furthermore, this entity aims to "increase the economic value of olive products for the benefit of olive growers worldwide, in combination with the benefit to public health. Each producer or company can become a member and send samples of olive oil for the certification of the EU health claim", explains Magiatis.
Currently, the centre supports seven ongoing clinical or experimental studies - clinical study in humans with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, clinical study in humans with Alzheimer's disease, clinical study in humans with multiple sclerosis, experimental study of the anti-cancer properties of olive oil ingredients, study of the antiplatelet activity of olive oil in healthy volunteers, study of the antiplatelet activity of olive oil in diabetic patients and study of olive oil to increase the strength of athletes - and certifies around 2 annually.000 samples of olive oil.
In addition, every year it organizes the Olympia Health & Nutrition conference and awards ceremony, in which it recognizes producers from all over the world who produce olive oil with health properties related to its phenolic content. This year the ceremony will take place on June 25th in the historical building of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. The centre - which is open to proposals for new studies and collaborations - also offers scholarships to doctoral candidates carrying out research on olive oil and health.