Organic pistachio fraud nets perpetrators €6m

An organised crime group involved in the trade in pistachios fraudulently labelled as being organic has been dismantled by police in Spain and France.

The operation – backed by Europol – was started after it emerged that ecological certifications were being misused on pistachios that did not adhere to agricultural standards.

An investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard detected a mix of organic and non-organic pistachio nuts that illegally contained pesticides, including glyphosate and chlorate, in order to boost the size of harvests and increase their value.

Marketed as organic, the nuts were sold for up to 80 per cent over the retail price of non-organic pistachios, according to Europol. The nuts from the main Spanish distributor were also being sold in France under false organic certifications.  It is estimated that the group behind the scam made a profit of €6m.

The operation resulted in 14 arrests in Ciudad Real, Madrid and Malaga. Those arrested were accused of fraud against public health, money laundering, falsification of documents and crime related to market and consumers.

Image by Aksel Lian from Pixabay

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