Europol, Spain, and Italy are combating the counterfeiting of virgin olive oil
Regulation & Compliances
Oil & Fats
Market & Price Trends
Published Dec 6, 2023
Europol has initiated a food fraud operation in collaboration with the Spanish Civil Guard and Italian Carabinieri to combat the high levels of olive oil adulteration and smuggling in Spain and Italy. The operation has led to the arrest of eleven individuals and the seizure of over 260,000 liters of unfit olive oil. Criminals have been using lower-quality "lampante oil" to dilute their products, posing health risks and undermining consumer trust.
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No wonder then that Europol's coordinated effort to combat food fraud and counterfeiting supported an investigation into the olive oil situation. The EMPACT funded operation was initiated by the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), who joined forces with the Italian Carabinieri. This has led to eleven arrests and the seizure of over 260 000 liters of olive oil unfit for consumption. Europol explains that faking extra virgin olive oil is a common practice, which is why the fight against it is a law enforcement priority - especially in production countries. In this food fraud operation, investigators uncovered that the criminals used so-called ‘lampante oil’, the lower-quality variant of olive oil, to dilute their product. Lampante olive oil is characterized by elevated acidity levels, an undesirable flavor, and a distinctly unpleasant odor, which make it unsuitable for consumption. The term ‘lampante’ itself originates from its historical use as a fuel in oil lamps. Mixing ...