Operation Opson V

Interpol-Europol busts dodgy weight loss supplements in massive global fraud fight

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

“The sale of these fake weight loss products are estimated to have generated some USD 170,000 (€150,000) over a 10-month period.”
“The sale of these fake weight loss products are estimated to have generated some USD 170,000 (€150,000) over a 10-month period.”

Related tags: Weight loss

A global crack down on food fraud coordinated by Europol and Interpol across 57 nations has captured a South Korean-based racket selling contaminated online weight loss food supplements.

“Police in South Korea arrested a man smuggling dietary supplements which were being sold online as natural product but in fact contained harmful ingredients,”​ Europol said in a statement.

“The sale of these fake weight loss products are estimated to have generated some USD 170,000 (€150,000) over a 10-month period.”

The agencies did not detail the products nor the harmful substances at this stage.

In wide-ranging busts between November 2015 and February this year ‘Operation Opson V’ confiscated, “More than 10,000 tonnes and one million litres of hazardous fake food and drink…”.

This included fertiliser-contaminated sugar in Sudan; copper sulphate-painted olives in Italy; counterfeit alcohol in Greece, Burundi and the UK; monkey meat in Belgium; contaminated honey in Australia and illegally imported locusts and caterpillars in France.

Interpol-Europol

“Today’s rising food prices and the global nature of the food chain offer the opportunity for criminals to sell counterfeit and substandard food in a multi-billion criminal industry which can pose serious potential health risks to unsuspecting customers,”​ said Chris Vansteenkiste, cluster manager of the Intellectual Property Crime Team at Europol.

“The complexity and scale of this fraud means cooperation needs to happen across borders with a multi-agency approach.”

Operation Opson mark 1 launched in 2011, and involved 10 countries.

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