Food Fraud Update: OPSON VII operation focuses on tuna.

On the 25th of April 2018, Europol/Interpol published the results of the OPSON VII operation in which the EU Food Fraud Network in particular contributed a large amount of data in order to detect up to 51 tonnes of tuna fish intended for canning which was falsely and fraudulently intended to be sold as ‘fresh tuna’.

The tuna in question had been illegally treated with substances that enhance the colour pigmentation leading to a ‘misleading impression’ of it’s freshness. This can represent a serious risk to public health, taking into account that the modification of the initial colour can mask spoilage allowing the development of biogenic amines (histamine) responsible for the so called ‘Scombroid Syndrome’ in humans.

The Justice, Police and Customs Departments of 11 EU countries that include the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and France worked closely with food experts and mobilised units to investigate and ensure the success of this operation. Reports stated that the findings were ‘just the tip of the ice-berg’ and that food passed off as fresh and not authentic is rife throughout the industry.