Europol tackles organic food fraud
For the first time, Europol has embarked on a continent-wide operation to tackle rising instances of food fraud. The services of 16 Europol Member States were mobilised between December 2018 and April 2019 for this operation, which involved analysing 90,000 tons of organic products at all stages of the industry (in shops, markets, airports, seaports and industrial estates) to identify fraudulent practices and potentially dangerous products. More than €100 million worth of potentially dangerous food and drinks was seized in the Operation termed OPSON, which was coordinated by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordination Centre and INTERPOL. 672 individuals were arrested so far, with investigations ongoing in many countries. The initiative has resulted in the opening of 24 legal proceedings, which consist of false certifications and deceptive practices regarding the quality and real nature of the products marketed. This is the first time that organic sectors are concerned by this type of operation.