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Thousands of Tons of Food and Alcohol Seized for Fraud


Think you're eating and drinking what you paid for? That might not be the case after an investigation by Interpol-Europol led to thousands of tons of fake food and alcohol being confiscated around the world.

According to Food Navigator, "biscuits, chocolate, spices, cereals, dairy products and honey," as well as oil and vinegar in 33 countries including some in the Americas, Asia and Europe were seized. "Operation Opson III led to the recovery of more than 131,000 litres of oil and vinegar, 80,000 biscuits and chocolate bars, 20 tons of spices and condiments, 186 tonnes of cereals, 45 tonnes of dairy products and 42 litres of honey."

But fish and seafood was the largest category of items seized, reports Food Navigator. "Some 685 tonnes were recovered for poor preservation, being incorrectly labeled and one seizure of 484,000kg of yellow fin tuna did not have the required traceability documents."

Nearly 100 people were arrested or detained in the food and alcohol fraud scandal. And in Colombia, nearly 300 tons of food and more than 17,000 bottles of liquor estimated at close to $200,0000 were seized. More than 270 bottles of fake whiskey were seized in Thailand. Europol discovered an organized crime network connected with the production and distribution of fake champagne. "Material to prepare 60,000 bottles including fake labels were seized following raids on two sites with three people arrested and 24 others reported to authorities."

Michael Ellis, head of Interpol's trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting unit told Food Navigator, "Most people would be surprised at the everyday foods and drink which are being counterfeited and the volume of seizures shows that this is a serious global problem."

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Image via Interpol and Food Navigator

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