Twelve thousand packs of adulterated coffee that did not match quality standards were seized in Brazil. The coffee was not labeled correctly, and in addition contained foreign matter, such as bark and wood. This investigation is part of a larger operation that altogether seized 15 tons of adulterated coffee, which contained corn, did not adhere to quality standards, and was packaged with a counterfeit purity seal.
Fraudulent food and beverage products can sometimes have serious health implications. A fake soluble coffee product made its way to some small retailers in Germany and contains dangerous glass and plastic shards. The public is requested to report the counterfeit product. The investigation of this very serious, hazardous fraud is ongoing.
The ninth OPSON operation, a cooperation between Europol and Interpol, included 83 countries around the world. OPSON IX targeted organized crime groups involved in food and beverage fraud. The substandard and fraudulent products potentially pose significant risk for consumers. Animal feed and alcoholic beverages made the top of the list of seized products, followed by grains, coffee and tea, and condiments. The officials also ran special campaigns to uncover fraudulent dairy products, olive oil and horsemeat.
Fraudulent food and beverage products can be found even in large supermarket chains. Counterfeit Starbucks VIA instant coffee was seized from Chinese supermarket chains in Beijing and Jinagsu province. Only Starbucks coffee shops and an authorized online retail platform are allowed to sell Starbucks instant coffee. The counterfeit products displayed (of course, fake) anti-forgery labels, different cover art, a different number of packs in each packet, a significantly longer expiration date, and ironically, a significantly higher retail price. The police arrested several suspects and found unsanitary conditions at the counterfeit coffee manufacturing site.
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