Photo: tobkatrina /
11 June 2014Trademarks

Nearly 100 arrests as fake food and drink seized

An international operation targeting food and drink counterfeiters has led to the arrest of 96 people and the seizure of large quantities of fake products.

More than 1,200 tonnes of counterfeit food and nearly 430,000 litres of fake drinks were detained, while the arrests were made across 33 countries including the US and UK.

The clampdown, known as Operation Opson III, was conducted between December 2013 and January 2014, although the results have only now been published.

In its third phase, the operation is run jointly by Interpol and Europol with the help of national authorities, and targets organised criminals who trade counterfeit food and drink goods.

The success of the latest initiative was due to improved international collaboration, according to the UK’s IP minister Lord Younger, who was speaking today, June 11 at the International IP Enforcement Summit London.

“Fake and sub-standard food poses a serious health risk to consumers and takes money away from legitimate producers and retailers.

“The UK will continue to share its expertise in the international fight against fake food and work with our partners to bring these unscrupulous criminal gangs to justice,” he said.

“Coordination was key to the success of Opson III, and the Intellectual Property Office played this vital role for the UK. Building on this, I will be hosting the 2014 Opson IV planning conference next month in London.”

In a significant haul in the UK, around 17,000 litres of counterfeit Glen’s vodka worth nearly £270,000 were seized.

The countries taking part in Opson III were: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at