Blitz throughout Italy by the Guardia di Finanza and the ICQRF by the Ministry of Agricultural Policies
Rome – Two million and 300 thousand liters of irregular oil they were discovered thanks to 183 checks carried out throughout Italy by the Guardia di Finanza and the ICQRF of the Ministry of Agricultural Policies as part of the “Verum et Oleum” operation to protect Italian extra virgin olive production. The joint inspections covered operators in the oil sector and the main ports of entry of raw materials of foreign origin.
More than one in four – 27.2% – of the samples taken were found to be non-compliant with Community and national legislation. Of the 102 samples taken and subjected to analysis at the ICQRF laboratories, 25 were found to be irregular in terms of quality lower than declared, that is, for oil qualified as extra virgin olive oil, but in reality detected by the analyzes as virgin. Result, 10 people were reported and subjected to preliminary investigations for the hypothesis of a crime of commercial fraud.
During the inspections were 33 administrative violations are contested relating to the keeping of the records, the compilation of the mandatory documentation and the maintenance of the traceability requirement, for a total amount of over 10,000,000 euros for tax revenue, 5 warnings were issued to comply with the provisions of the authority for regularization and 5 administrative seizures were carried out, for a total value of over 170 thousand euros.
The operation is part of the activities carried out by the Guardia di Finanza and Icqrf on the basis of the collaboration protocol signed in July 2020 to combat fraud and counterfeiting in the agri-food sector.
With more than one bottle of extra virgin olive oil in four from outside the EU (27%) found to be false, the control activity to protect consumers and companies is important in a country where 540 million kilos of product arrived from abroad in 2021, almost double the national production (+ 80%). This is what Coldiretti affirms on the basis of Istat data, in expressing satisfaction with the operation conducted by the Guardia di Finanza and the ICQRF. Fraud not only deceives citizens, points out Coldiretti, but also causes the prices of quality products to collapse in a situation that is already difficult due to unfair competition from foreign imports.
To defend, there is a production of over 300 million kilos in 2021 obtained thanks to the 400 thousand national farms engaged in cultivating olive trees in Italy, which can count on a heritage of 250 million plants and 533 varieties of olives. Under these conditions, Coldiretti’s advice is to choose Made in Italy by carefully checking the label. “The excellent results of the law enforcement activity confirm the need to keep our guard up and to tighten the still wide mesh of legislation with the reform of crimes in the agri-food sector”, affirms the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini in underlining that “innovation technology and the new global production and distribution systems make this type of crime even more dangerous.