Counterfeiting & Seizures

Europol: Hundreds of thousands of liters of illegal olive oil seized

In a new joint operation of Europol with Spanish and Italian authorities, officials have seized over 260,000 liters of olive oil. According to the authorities, the sale of fake extra virgin olive oil is a common practice.

Europol recently supported Spanish and Italian authorities against fake extra virgin olive oil, as part of Europol’s larger OPSON operation against counterfeit and illegal food products.1 Investigations by the Spanish Guardia Civil resulted in eleven arrests and the seizure of over 260,000 liters of olive oil unfit for human consumption, in November 2023 near Ciudad Real. Large sums of cash and several vehicles were also confiscated. 

In Italy, carabinieri also investigated three oil factories during raids in the regions of Sicily and Tuscany. The factories were suspected of being involved in the trade in illegal olive oil. Officials secured customer lists and took samples of the oil. In addition, one company was sanctioned for irregular labeling of its products. 

According to Europol, fake extra virgin olive oil is a common practice, which is why law enforcement authorities would take action against it, especially in the producing countries. The olive oil seized in the above-mentioned operation was apparently diluted with so-called lampante oil – an inedible variant of olive oil. According to Europol, suppliers could thus offer inferior oil at competitive prices and infiltrate legal supply chains. This practice is not only harmful to the health of consumers, but also has economic consequences, according to Europol. 



Article in cooperation with the Anti-Piracy Analyst


Sabine Carrell, International Communications Manager at SCRIBOS

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