Food crime operations

Operation Opson removes counterfeit and substandard food and drinks from the market.

OPSON operations

Operation Opson – which means ‘food’ in ancient Greek – is an annual law enforcement operation that aims to remove counterfeit and substandard food and drinks from the market and dismantle the organized crime groups involved.

Coordinated jointly by INTERPOL and Europol, the first phase of the operation took place in 2011.

Participating agencies from law enforcement, customs and national food regulatory bodies conduct checks at shops, markets, airports and seaports to locate and confiscate counterfeit or substandard food products.

Amongst key objectives, Opson helps raise consumers’ awareness of food-related crime and its consequences. Opson also helps target the criminal finances of organized crime groups and improves cooperation between national law enforcement agencies, food and/or drugs agencies, and private companies from the food and beverage industry.

Operation Opson XI

INTERPOL coordinated the global activities of 21 participating countries in the latest operation against illicit food and drink between December 2021 and May 2022.

Key INTERPOL-coordinated results include:

  • Seizures: 1,100 tonnes
  • Estimated value: USD $3 718 495
  • Arrests: 43

Authorities seized a range of items including:

  • Alcoholic beverages: 174,701 litres
  • Non-alcoholic beverages: 70,924 litres
  • Poultry products: 317,078 kg
  • Fruits/Vegetables/Legumes: 163,932 kg
  • Sugar and sweet products: 135,069 kg
  • Food supplements/additives: 102,625 kg
  • Meat or meat-based products: 73,054 kg