Counterfeit, mislabelled and sub-standard meat products have been seized in an international police operation spanning 29 countries, coordinated by Interpol and European police agency Europol.
Sausages, ham, lamb, chicken and beef were seized, a Europol spokesman told Globalmeatnews.com. He added: “The main infringements were the misuse of geographical indications, especially for the sausages, and the breach of sanitary rules, especially regarding the slaughtering conditions of the animals.”
Police officers involved in this Operation OPSON II seized more than 135 tonnes of potentially harmful foods of all kinds and a further 100 tonnes of misdeclared and potentially hazardous foodstuffs. Europol refused to reveal the brand names (fake or real) of the seized meat products as they are the subject of follow-up investigations.
Countries taking part were Austria, Belgium, Benin, Britain, Bulgaria, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.
Simone Di Meo, an Interpol criminal intelligence officer, said: “With this year’s operation going beyond Europe and involving countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia, this will enable us to gather even more intelligence about the networks behind this criminal activity and potentially identify global links with other types of crime.”
Chris Vansteenkiste, intellectual property crime team project manager at Europol, said: “With this operation we are showing the criminal networks involved in this line of business that they are not safe and, just as important, we are helping to protect public health and safety.”