OPSON Europe: Seizure of Goods Worth 30 Million Euros
As part of the OPSON Europe operation coordinated by Europol, 8,000 tons of illegal products were confiscated, including 6.5 million liters of counterfeit, substandard, or smuggled alcohol. The investigations also uncovered trade in untraceable or expired meat and sausage products, as well as the repeated misuse of protected food names such as ’Feta,’ ‘Parmigiano Reggiano,’ and ‘Prosciutto di Parma.’ The operation took place between December 2022 and April 2023, targeting food fraud in European customs areas, physical markets, e-commerce platforms, and throughout the food supply chain. Law enforcement agencies from 25 countries participated, supported by various EU bodies and national food regulatory authorities.
Spirits and wine are consistently popular targets for counterfeiters. The alcohol industry faces millions in damages annually due to illegal refilling or counterfeit labels, with the imitations being difficult for lay people to distinguish from the genuine products. Food is also increasingly affected by dangerous practices: Criminal organizations acquire more and more food from disposal companies, remove expiration dates, and print counterfeit labels. This not only results in significant quality losses, up to the point of being inedible, but also poses serious health risks.
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