Food and beverage fraud - news in brief

‘Codfather’ accomplice sentenced, fake vodka tax stamps, oregano adulteration, and IFAAO gets Codex observer status.

Former lawman sentenced for role in fish mislabelling scam

A former deputy sheriff has been sentenced to a year in jail followed by three years on probation for his part in an illegal fishing scheme. Antonio Freitas, 47, was convicted in July of one count of bulk cash smuggling and one count of structuring the export of US currency to help fishing mogul Carlos Rafael – known as The Codfather – smuggle profits from a scam involving falsification/mis-labelling of catches to sidestep fishing quotas. Rafael (65) was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release last month.

Azeri authorities seize fake excise stamps for vodka

Azerbaijan’s Sate Security Service seized more than 600,000 counterfeit excise stamps intended for illegal vodka production in the country, which had been smuggled through the customs control of Azerbaijan-Georgia border, according to a report in the APA news service. The stamps were found at facilities where vodka was being produced through the mixing of low-quality alcohol and water, and criminal proceedings have been launched against those involved.

High level of oregano adulteration in Denmark

Around 40 per cent of oregano samples tested in Denmark turned out to be adulterated with significant amounts of other plant materials, says the Danish Consumer Council (Forbrugerrådet Tænk), which found that most four out of 10 samples contained 50 to 70 per cent of the herb. Olive, cistus and myrtle leaves were typically used to bulk up the products from brands such as Änglamark, Robero Krydderier Oregano, Kilic Oregano and Budget, it said in a press release (in Danish). The level of adulteration is so high that it could only occur deliberately, claims the organization, which has previously said it has found pesticide residues in some oregano samples.

Food integrity group IFAAO wins Codex observer status

The International Food Authenticity Assurance Organization (IFAAO) has been granted observer status by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a programme established jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to protect consumer health. IFAAO is a non-profit organization established to advance awareness, discussion and research about food authenticity and to convene international expertise to share experiences in the management of food integrity and prevention of food fraud.

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