THE NETHERLANDS, Den Haag. More than 15,400 t of illegal products were seized. The investigation took part in 72 countries. About 500 inspections found violations in 7% of the cases. Meat was also affected, along with honey and alcoholic beverages. BVL identified false animal species information in seven of 264 meat samples tested.
The international police authorities Interpol and Europol have seized food and beverages with a total value of € 53.8 mill. euros as part of their latest operation against food fraud called "OPSON X". The two authorities announced that the operation was carried out between December 2019 and June this year. A total of 15,451 t of illegal products were confiscated, it said. The operation, the tenth of its kind, involved law enforcement agencies from a total of 72 countries, including 26 EU member states.
In addition to the counterfeit honey products, 1.7 mill. l of wine, beer, and alcoholic beverages were also seized during the operation. According to Europol, the counterfeiting of alcoholic beverages poses a "serious threat" to consumers, while also adversely affecting legitimate producers.
Under the previous operation "OPSON IX," a special project to assist national authorities in combating the sale of illegal horsemeat had been carried out in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy and Spain. This action had been led by Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands and supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE). Follow-up activities have now led to the launch of three new investigations in EU countries.
As reported by the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), German food monitoring authorities participated in the Europe-wide priority. In an additional national action, the federal office tested different meat products with regard to the declared animal species. In seven of a total of 264 samples examined, inaccurate information regarding the animal species was detected. According to the Federal Office, the inspections were carried out in wholesale and retail trade, at manufacturing and processing companies, as well as in the catering industry. Game meat products, ready-to-eat meat products and processed meat were the main products examined.