Seen and heard: Counterfeiting news in brief

Taiwan food fraud crackdown, cargo theft fears, India fake drug testing delays, counterfeit Botox, cyber-security electronics contract, and adulterated opium.

Taiwan crackdown on food fraud

Taiwan has introduced new guidelines to crackdown on dodgy food companies that commit food fraud or that practice unsafe or unhygienic practices, including the addition of industrial chemicals to food, the presence of insecticides, and selling relabelled, expired foods. Under the new rules, any business found to have profited more than NT $10 million (US $333,000) from the sale of substandard products would be temporarily closed and those making more than NT $30 million (US $1 million) would be immediately shut down and removed from the business registry, Food reported. Orders could also be issued in suspected cases.

Cargo theft concerns increase

The haulage industry fears criminals and gangs are going to increasingly explore the opportunities of cargo theft in the UK after reports claimed police are reducing resources for pursuing low-level crimes such as vandalism and vehicle crime. The lack of secure parking areas could make the risk greater, and the industry has called for increased security in parking areas across the EMEA region, according to The Loadstar. In November, 93.9% of cargo theft incidents in the UK occurred at unsecured parking locations, figures from the Transport Asset Protection Association reveal.

India’s fake drug testing labs delayed

India’s mini drug testing lab project, aimed at enhancing the detection of counterfeit medicines, is floundering because of issues to procure analytical equipment, reports The project, which involves a mini drug testing lab set up in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai, had been scheduled to start last year but less than 50% of the equipment for each of the labs has been procured, the website claims. There have also been other issues, which have impacted the delay, such as space issues.

Woman injecting counterfeit Botox arrested

Police in Florida, US, have arrested a woman for allegedly injecting counterfeit Botox into clients without a medical licence. According to ABC Action News, Diane D’anca allegedly injected more than 100 patients with the non-FDA regulated Botox over a seven year period. The Botox is believed to have been sourced from Canada and London. The arrest follows a tip-off that D’anca may have been operating without a licence. The investigation is ongoing.

Firm awarded electronics cyber-security contract

Engineering tech firm Draper has been awarded a $9.8m contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop secure computer hardware to counter “software cyber vulnerabilities in military and commercial electronic systems”, Seapower Magazine reports. The contract falls under the System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) programme, and will see Draper build on its “cyber resilient embedded processor chip” and will aim to safeguard hardware against all known common weakness enumeration classes of hardware vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit through software. The move follows increasing concerns about the security of electronic systems. Last week, it was revealed that two security flaws, known as Meltdown and Spectre, were affecting microchips made by Intel, AMD and Arm, which are used in almost all computers and smartphones, opening up the devices to hackers.

Opium being adulterated with lead 

Opium may be being adulterated with lead to boost the profits of Afghan opium traders after multiple cases of lead poisoning were reported among opium users and drug couriers in Iran, the science magazine Cosmos says. The development is based on a report by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which notes that approximately 3000 opium users have presented at hospitals with elevated blood lead levels. The first case of lead poisoning in an opium user in Iran was reported in February 2016.  

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