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The joint Europol INTERPOL operation that investigates counterfeit or substandard food products has released a summary of the results of its latest annual OPSON investigation.
Conducted across 67 different countries from December 2017 through March 2018, OPSON VII included more than 41,000 checks and inspections at food entry points such as airports and seaports, as well as at shops and markets through the world. The OPSON VII operation resulted in the seizure of more than 3620 tonnes and 9.7 million litres of counterfeit food and beverages with an estimated value of €55 million, as well as the arrest or detention of nearly 750 individuals.
The foods and beverages confiscated during the OPSON VII operation included rotten meat that was being processed by a major Belgian meat producer and sold at supermarkets throughout the country, and fake baby milk powder produced in Spain and intended for export to China.
Counterfeit alcohol products were reportedly the products most frequency seized during inspections conducted under the OPSON VII operation. Also highlighted in the Europol summary of the OPSON VII operation was the seizure of 51 tonnes of tuna that had been illegally treated with chemicals in order to give the fish the appearance of being fresh. The seizure of the fraudulently-marketed tuna represented the first time in which a coordinated action was carried out in connection with a single, specific food product.
A final report of the OPSON VII operation is expected to be published in the coming months. In the meantime, the complete text of the Europol press release summarising the results of the operation can be viewed here.