Plant sterols have been found to be effective in lowering elevated cholesterol and are now being added to a wide range of foods. Ironically, international standards for olive oil set a low limit for phytosterols. Due to natural variations in oils from new growing areas such as Australia, some Australian oils have higher levels of phytosterols.
The total content of sterols and their composition in olive oil seem to be influenced not only by genetic factors but also by management and processing techniques. The aim of the report was to improve processing and product quality while meeting national and international standards through supporting consistent production of high quality, healthy and safe olive oil that meets consumer expectations and in which they have confidence.