Over 2,500 tons seized in Europol's massive fake food operation

Europol seizing record numbers of illegal drinks (Europol/Twitter)Europol seizing record numbers of illegal drinks (Europol/Twitter)

Europol has forcibly seized over 2,500 tons of fake and below-standard food from 47 countries through a joint operation with international policing agency Interpol dubbed "Operation Opson IV."

Operation Opson IV involved  officials instigating checks at shops, markets, airports, seaports and industrial properties in approximately sixty countries across the globe, including the Netherlands. It was carried out between December 2014 and January 2015, culminating in the seizure of the illegal goods, included dairy products, eggs, fruit and cooking oil.

Counterfeit alcohol was the most seized drink, and officials also found illegal dietary supplements, an illegal slaughterhouse, illegal water bottles,

"Fake and sub-standard food and drink pose a real threat to health and safety. People are at serious risk and in some cases dying because of the greed of criminals whose sole concern is to make money," said Head of INTERPOL's Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit, Michael Ellis.

"The results of the Opson clearly reflect the threat that food fraud represents, as it affects all types of products and all regions of the world", said Chris Van Steenkiste, coordinator of investigations in Europe and head of Europol's Focal Point Copy.

"Through this operation, thousands of tonnes of potentially hazardous food and drink have been taken out of circulation."

The operation resulted in several arrests across the world, and will prompt the start of new investigations into trafficking networks. "Cooperation at national and international level is indispensable to disrupt the criminal gangs in this business," said Van Steenkiste.