`Spanish Prosecutors Seek Nine Years in Jail for Three Accused of Olive Oil Fraud


Spanish Prosecutors Seek Nine Years in Jail for Three Accused of Olive Oil Fraud

Sep. 18, 2011
Julie Butler

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Span­ish pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing nine years jail and fines of 8,760 euros ($12,000) each for three Andalu­sian busi­ness­men accused of olive oil fraud and decep­tive adver­tis­ing.

They say the trio sold as extra vir­gin olive oil mix­tures of 70 – 80 per cent sun­flower oil and just 20 – 30 per­cent olive oil, along with a dash of E141 – a food addi­tive not approved for use in cook­ing oils – for color enhance­ment.

Accord­ing to Span­ish news­pa­per ABC, the pros­e­cu­tion claims that from their busi­nesses in Lucena, Baena and Espejo — all within the Cór­doba region — the men sold hun­dreds of thou­sands of liters of adul­ter­ated oil between early 2005 and mid-2006.

Labeled as extra vir­gin olive oil, and priced accord­ingly, 5‑liter metal and plas­tic con­tain­ers of the oil were sold in Andalu­sia, Valen­cia and Cat­alo­nia to unwit­ting food whole­salers, restau­rants, and indi­vid­ual con­sumers, includ­ing via the inter­net, a Cór­doba provin­cial court heard this week.

The trio, iden­ti­fied only by their ini­tials – JMA, FAM and JJC – were charged as part of Oper­a­tion Cho­les­terol.’ A national inves­ti­ga­tion in Spain in 2006, it fol­lowed com­plaints of sus­pected olive oil adul­ter­ation which were sub­stan­ti­ated in test­ing by regional author­i­ties.


The pros­e­cu­tion says that while not all those who bought the adul­ter­ated oil have been iden­ti­fied, the trio should at least com­pen­sate those whole­salers who are known to have bought it, and the accused three should be dis­qual­i­fied from sell­ing cook­ing oils.

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