China Arrests Five for Forging Expiration Dates on Olive Oil

Chinese authorities have arrested five suspects following an investigation into an alleged plot to sell olive oil with fraudulent expiration date labels.

Jul. 11, 2017
By Paul Conley

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Market inspec­tors and police offi­cers in Pudong, China, have arrested five sus­pects fol­low­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into a scheme to make mil­lions of dol­lars by chang­ing the expi­ra­tion dates on bot­tles of for­eign olive oil and then sell­ing them to unsus­pect­ing distributors.

Authorities seized about 1,300 car­tons con­tain­ing roughly 10,000 bot­tles of oil from two ware­houses. According to police, the plot would have net­ted some US$1.32 mil­lion in ille­gal prof­its if the bot­tles had been sold.
See Also: Olive Oil Fraud

The sus­pects allegedly had already sold some bot­tles with fake expi­ra­tion labels in 12 Chinese cities and provinces. The prof­its from those ini­tial sales were esti­mated to be close to US$200,000.

Three brands of olive oil were caught up in the scheme — San Giuliano and Clemente from Italy, and Natura from Spain, accord­ing to the press reports.

The Shanghai Daily news­pa­per reported that one of the sus­pects said she was fol­low­ing orders from her boss at San Giuliano. That sus­pect, iden­ti­fied only by the name Chen, told the news­pa­per that some of the faked labels were sent to her from Italy, while oth­ers were printed in China. 

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In an emailed response to Olive Oil Times, a San Giuliano rep­re­sen­ta­tive said, We have learnt about this inci­dent only from your email. Before it, this sce­nario was totally unknown to us and we still have no idea of what is going on. We will get back to you with our com­ments as soon as possible.”

The Xinmin Evening News reported that the scheme began in 2013.

A pros­e­cu­tor told reporters that the sus­pects faced up to two years in prison, but that the sen­tences could be longer if author­i­ties rule that peo­ple’s health was at risk from the expired oil.

The arrests come sev­eral months after a Taiwanese bil­lion­aire who sells foods through­out China and much of the rest of Asia was sen­tenced for sell­ing adul­ter­ated olive oil.



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