Italy seized 850 mln euros' worth of fraudulent food in 2011

Over a million inspections conducted by network of agencies

Italy seized 850 mln euros' worth of fraudulent food in 2011

Rome, November 5 - Italian authorities seized over 24 million kg of tainted or fake products worth 850 million euros over the course of more than a million food inspections in 2011, a food security study released on Monday found. The staggering figures confirm the importance of the food business to organized criminals in Italy, according to the organizations that conducted the studies - the Italian consumer group Citizen Defense Movement (MDC) and the Italian environmental organization Legambiente. They also demonstrate massive investment and attention to food security enforcement by a complex network of Italian security agencies - customs, health protection Carabinieri (NAS), agriculture and food policy Carabinieri, the port authorities, the forestry police, the central inspectorate for the protection of quality and fraud suppression, and the health ministry. "Italy has one of the very best systems for protecting food security," declared MDC president Antonio Longo. But the MDC and Legambiente also called for the creation of a one-stop "window" for consumers to report suspected food fraud when they presented the study - called "Italy to the table 2012" - to the Italian ministry of economic development on Monday. "Greater safety could be obtained by the application of stricter norms for the labeling and tracing of food products, and especially specifying timing for judicial proceedings regarding food fraud. conducting analyses quickly, in fact, would permit the effective supervision of the food chain and to get back to the phase of damage before adulterated products are distributed," added Legambiente President Vittorio Cogliati. Monday marked the ninth year the organizations have conducted the study and presented it to the Italian government. photo: bogus organic eggs

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