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Food bust Ireland involved in massive operation targeting dodgy food and beverage

There were 663 arrest warrants issued, 2,409 locations searched, and 42 criminal networks 'disrupted'

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Operation OPSON IX saw the launch of a dedicated project to support national authorities.

Operation OPSON IX saw the launch of a dedicated project to support national authorities.

Operation OPSON IX saw the launch of a dedicated project to support national authorities.

Ireland was just one of 72 countries, including 26 EU Member States where law enforcement agencies cooperated in an operation targeting the trafficking of dodgy food and beverage. 

Europol and Interpol coordinated Operation Opson 2020, from December 2019 to June 2021 that saw 15, 451 tonnes of illicit products with a value of about €53.8 million seized.

There were also 663 arrest warrants issued, 2,409 locations searched, and 42 criminal networks “disrupted”.

The products seized included a wide array of food stuffs, including alcoholic beverages, food supplements and additives, cereals, grains and derived products and livestock.

Operation OPSON IX saw the launch of a dedicated project to support national authorities in combating the sale of illegal horse meat. This action was led by Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Ireland was also involved in targeted action on alcohol and wine and include several other European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and Greece.

Some1.7 million litres of wine, beer and alcoholic beverages were seized with most infringements related to wine and vodka.

Catherine De Bolle, Europol’s Executive Director, said that counterfeit and substandard food and beverage can be found both on the physical market and sold online.

“The increased health risk for consumers is proportional to the reduced quality of raw materials used in the food processing system,” she said.

“Europol sees a recent development where low-quality products have infiltrated the food supply chain, an evolution possibly related to the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With more than 15 000 tonnes of illegal products seized, operation OPSON X illustrates the importance of cooperation between national authorities and the private sector in protecting consumers’ rights and the quality of the products we put on our tables.”

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