Finnish Customs participated in a large-scale international operation targeting counterfeit foods, Opson VI, from 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2017. This year, 61 countries participated in the operation jointly coordinated by Europol and Interpol, and 21 of these were EU countries. All in all, 50 000 checks were carried out at shops, markets, airports, ports and industrial estates.
During the global operation, a total of 9 800 tonnes, over 26.4 million litres, and 13 million units/items of counterfeit or harmful food and beverages were seized. The products seized included alcohol, mineral water, seasoning cubes, seafood, olive oil and caviar.
In Finland, the operation targeted consignments of spices, and was coordinated by Customs and carried out together with the food safety authorities of the cities of Helsinki and Vantaa. The operation also reached good results on the national level through cooperation between the authorities.
During the operation, 16 consignments were inspected and a total of 21 samples were taken from these. The samples were analysed as regards colouring agents, irradiation and accuracy of the product specification. Turmeric powders and food supplements were also analysed for their lead content.
Based on the analyses, a total of 950.5 kg of turmeric, curry and chili seasoning products which were in breach of the food regulations were found. The batches examined contained many incorrect product specifications, and residues of pesticides prohibited in organic farming were found in one turmeric powder purported to be organic. Prohibited Sudan dye was found in two batches of chili and turmeric powder. The municipal authorities removed the batches from sale.
Finnish Customs participated in the Opson operation for the fourth time.
Europol press release, published 25 April 2017: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eur-230-million-worth-of-fake-food-and-beverages-seized-in-global-opson-operation-targeting-food-fraud
Finnish Customs is a part of the customs system of the European Union. Customs is a state agency supervised by the Ministry of Finance through management by results. Finnish Customs cooperates with the trade community as well as with domestic and foreign authorities. Finnish Customs has approximately 2 000 employees.
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