Italian police have arrested 39 people and seized truckloads of fake olive oil destined for the United States, Germany and Switzerland to be sold at a big profit.
Police said on Monday they seized 25,000 litres of the fake oil. The gang was adding flavouring and colourants to vegetable oil and slapping false labels on to bottles that claimed the contents were extra-virgin olive oil.
Random tests on olive oil, as well as suspicions raised by some Italian restaurateurs and retailers, had led police to make the discovery. Police impounded contents of seven premises where the fake oil was being produced.
"We blocked the export of huge amounts of the oil to America, Germany and Switzerland, avoiding another international scandal after the buffalo mozzarella case," said Ernesto Di Gregorio, a Carabinieri police chief in the southern city of Naples.
Several countries banned imports of Italian mozzarella when high levels of dioxin were found in the cheese – something blamed on the illegal dumping and burning of waste around the Naples area where the buffalo that provide the milk graze.
Italy exports 914 million euros of virgin and extra virgin oil each year. A consumer group said the fake oil scam could further dent Italy's reputation for high quality produce after police made a similar raid on makers of fake wine earlier this month.
"After wine and mozzarella we now have olive oil, which like the other two is an excellent product of which Italy is proud around the world," said consumers' association Aduc.
"It will end up that consumers abroad, when they buy Italian produce, they will have the same doubts as when they buy Chinese products," it said, in an apparent reference to recalls of Chinese-made toys and concerns about fake goods.
[Via - Stuff.Co.Nz]
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Labels: Weird Facts