Portugal Seizes Adulterated Olive Oil in Raid

Portuguese food standards y agency ASAE seized 6,000 liters of fake olive oil from a company in the town of Penamacor.

Nov. 22, 2016
By Catarina Chase Aleixo

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Portuguese food stan­dards agency ASAE seized 6,000 liters of fake olive oil last week from a com­pany in the town of Penamacor, some 270 kilo­me­ters north­east of the coun­try’s cap­i­tal, Lisbon, ASAE said in a state­ment.

According to ASAE, which is Portugal’s agency to inspect and enforce food stan­dards and safety from man­u­fac­tur­ing and import through to point of sale, around 6,000 liters of fake olive oil were seized as part of an oper­a­tion code named Golden Oil III” last month.
See more: Articles on Olive Oil Fraud
In the raid, a total of 3,400 liters of the false oil was found decanted into small and large bot­tles and inves­ti­ga­tors from ASAE’s National Information and Criminal Investigation Unit wit­nessed an oil blend being labeled as olive oil. It also seized a tank filled with 2,400 liters of lam­pante oil.

In all the seized prod­ucts had a mar­ket value of some €30,000 ($31,809).

In the course of the inves­ti­ga­tion of the entire sup­ply chain prod­ucts were seized at sev­eral retail­ers and whole­salers located in dif­fer­ent coun­cil areas and crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings were ini­ti­ated for fal­si­fied goods and food­stuffs, and the pack­ager is a repeat offender of these same crimes,” the INE state­ment said.

The importer and pack­ag­ing com­pany was found to be mix­ing olive oil with other veg­etable oils, pour­ing it into bot­tles and label­ing at as vir­gin olive oil, the agency said.

Operation Golden Oil III, as the name sug­gests, fol­lows Operations Golden Oil I and II car­ried out by ASAE in pre­vi­ous years.

In August of this year, Brazilian con­sumer report mag­a­zine Proteste in a test of 19 olive oil brands sold in the coun­try’s super­mar­kets found three brands of pur­port­edly Portuguese olive oil were fal­si­fied.

The olive oil of the Pramesa, Figueira da Foz and Tradição brands were found to be a mix­ture of olive oil and other veg­etable oils. Another three brands (Qualitá, Beirão, Carrefour Discount and Filippo Berio) were labeled as extra vir­gin olive oil but were found to be vir­gin olive oil.

Production of olive oil hit a 75-year high of 765,000 tons in Portugal in 2015 and olive oil pro­duc­tion in 2016 is expected to hit a 50-year high, accord­ing to the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE).

In recent years new irri­gated expanses of olive groves have been planted in the south­ern Alentejo region, which pro­duces more than 75 per­cent of the country’s olives, mean­ing that pro­duc­tion is now less reliant on annual rain­fall for a suc­cess­ful har­vest.



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