An organized crime network. A multi-billion dollar industry. Thousands of tons of illegal substances seized across 57 countries. Nope, we’re not talking about drugs. We’re talking about counterfeit food, and the largest Interpol operation ever to seize over 10,000 tons of it.
On Thursday, Interpol released a statement detailing the results of what they called Operation Opson V. In a coordinated effort with Europol, literal tons of fake, tainted food were seized. And almost every major country is guilty.
In Greece, they discovered three entire factories solely dedicated to the production of fake liquor, which, according to the Drinkaware Chief Medical Advisor Paul Wallace, can contain “chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and automobile screen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in antifreeze and some fuels.” These are substances that could make you feel tipsy, but could also poison you. Similar “fake booze” operations were also found in the UK and Burundi.
In Italy, 85 tons of tainted olives were seized–olives that had been painted with copper sulphate to enhance their color. It’s not the first Italian scandal about fake olives. The local police force was kind enough to release footage of the seizure: