Operation Opson II
Opson is a joint INTERPOL-Europol operation targeting fake and substandard food and drink and the organized crime networks behind this illicit trade.
Building on the success of the initial operation in 2011, this second phase resulted in around 100 arrests and the seizure of more than 135 tonnes of potentially harmful goods: from everyday items such as coffee, soup cubes and olive oil to luxury goods such as truffles and caviar.
The packaging of fake food and drink is often so convincing that consumers do not realise they are buying an illicit product. In doing so, they are risking their health and safety as the products are often produced, transported and stored without any form of regulation or hygiene controls.
The organized networks behind this type of crime make millions of euros in profits which can be used to fund other illegal activities such as human and drug trafficking.
The number of countries participating in Opson rose from 10 in 2011 to nearly 30 in 2012, and expanded beyond Europe to include countries from Africa, the Americas and Asia.
The week-long operation was supported by customs and national food regulatory bodies in addition to partners from the private sector. Checks and raids were carried out at airports, seaports, shops, markets and private homes.
Dates: 3-9 December 2012
Participating countries: (29 in total) Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA.
Media release: INTERPOL-Europol operation results in global seizures of fake and illicit food (14 December 2012)