05 Mar

Italian police crack down on olive oil fraud

By Malcolm Moore,

Police in Italy have arrested 23 people and confiscated 85 farms in an operation that has exposed the scale of the country’s fraudulent olive oil trade.

More than 400 officers took part in Operation Golden Oil after an investigation discovered as many as 91 people may have been involved in passing off low quality oil, made with olives around the Mediterranean, for the finest Italian product.

Italy’s thriving fake olive oil business involves importing oil from Tunisia, Greece and Spain and re-labelling it as Italian oil.

Other ploys include labelling inferior oil as extra-virgin olive oil and claiming EU subsidies for growing olives in Italy while actually importing them from elsewhere.

Police found invoices to the EU for €6.5 million of subsidies during the raids, as well as receipts for €39 million of ‘Italian’ oil made with non-Italian olives.

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