Roberto Lunetti and Lorenzo Marzioni are two chemical analysis lab employees at Monini.
Whilst both come from Umbria, the birthplace of olive oil production, they never expected to work in the industry. But here they are at the Monini lab, offering advice to young people thinking of starting out in the industry.
“Our work is never ending, because we analyse everything that comes in and everything that leaves the plant we engage with all the other areas of the plant, ranging from production to goods transport.”
Every day Roberto and Lorenzo work on preliminary samples which have already been tasted and subjected to analytical screening. But flavour and quality do not always go hand in hand. Oil which tastes bad does not necessarily fail analytical tests and oils which taste good sometimes have contaminants or pesticides above legal limits.
Many people think that an expensive lab machine can replace humans. Actually, if we do not concentrate fully on tests, certain substances in the oil may be neglected or its values confused. Whilst olive oil is a naturally simple product it needs to be subjected to much more rigorous quality tests than other foodstuffs and as compared to the past. In recent years, in fact, the focus has shifted to consumers’ health and certain contaminants which were not tested for before are now analyzed. These include minerals and plastic materials in the environment which might have come into contact with samples.
Despite all this technology, the family, as represented by Zefferino Monini, takes a direct role in selecting raw materials, creating blends and aroma, flavour and analytical tests. To keep the team spirits up, Roberto and Lorenzo like a joke or two, creating a family atmosphere in the lab.