Rotten meat and fake baby formula seized in food fraud crackdown

3,600 tonnes of dangerous and illegal foods seized in global food crime operation.

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Chemically coloured tuna. Photo credit Europol

Chemically coloured tuna. Photo credit Europol

Chemically coloured tuna, rotten meat, fake baby milk powder and food smuggling has all been uncovered in the ongoing Operation OPSON. The investigation into food crime from December 2017 - March 2018 across 67 countries resulted in 749 people being arrested.

The investigation uncovered a Europe wide tuna fish fraud. Old fish was being illegally chemically treated to change its colour to make it look like fresh. This ‘fresh’ tuna was then being sold for canning for distribution across Europe. In total more than 51 tonnes of tuna were seized

In Belgium a major meat processing plant was closed down after a scandal over rotten minced beef and oxtail. Officials found traces of meat carcass intended for animal feed, and not fit for human consumption, in the products on the supermarket shelves.

And four people in Spain were arrested over a factory packaging counterfeit baby formula destined for China.

Jari Liukku, Head of Europol’s European Serious and Organised Crime Centre, said that food crime

"is a threat which requires such cooperation across borders, taking into account the increased integration and globalisation of supply chains. All countries face this threat and it is the duty of law enforcement agencies to make sure what consumers get in their plate is genuine and safe".


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