Petti canned tomatoes, trade fraud. Maxi-sequestration of RACs

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The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Agri-foodstuffs — in an investigation for fraud in trade, against the managers of Italian Food SpA, Petti Group — have carried out a maxi seizure of 4,477 tons of canned tomatoes and semi-finished products, with a commercial value of more than 3 million euros. (1)

The investigation conducted by the Carabinieri of the RAC (Reparto Tutela Agroalimentare) culminated in the execution of the decree issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Livorno Court to search and seize the production plant and warehouse in Venturina Terme and Campo alla Croce in Campiglia Marittima (Livorno).

Breasts, the maxi seizure

Military personnel from the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Agribusiness, with the support of units from the Territorial and Forestry Arms, seized:

– 3,500 tons of Petti brand canned tomatoes. Millions of bottles, glass jars, jars, packs and bricks, labeled as ‘100% Italian tomato‘ and/or ‘100% Tuscan tomato‘,

– 977 tons of semi-finished products and tomato paste of non-EU origin in drums and bins stored in an outdoor yard in the plant area.

Breasts, systematic trade fraud on tomato origin

The Central Operations Section (RAC) of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Agribusiness started the investigation in January 2021 with the support of the Customs Agency, under the coordination of the Livorno Prosecutor’s Office. Gathering documentary evidence, corroborated by repeated observations, of

Systematic production and fraudulent marketing of canned tomatoes– mainly tomato puree of various
type and format with the brand name of the well-known company-falsely labeled as ‘100% Italian tomato’ and/or ‘100% Tuscan tomato,’ intended for large-scale retail trade (GDO) for retail sale in Italy.’ (1)

The systematic fraud ascribed to six people was perpetrated through the use of ‘significant (varying) percentages of foreign (extra-EU) tomato concentrate mixed with dosed quantities of semi-finished Italian tomato products.’

Breasts, flagrancy of crime

The flagrant offense was established when Carabinieri entered the processing area, where workers were caught mixing tomato by-products of different origins. such an operation.

‘From here it was then traced back to the bottling and labeling line, finding thousands of bottles of passata produced from the beginning of the daily shift. Seized copious accounting, administrative and laboratory records, both paper and computer-based, of interesting investigative value. Unofficial, handwritten production files, from which the fraudulent design, i.e., the attribution to the product of characteristics of origin and composition different from the real ones, is clearly evident.’

Petti tomato preserves, sampling and analysis

Inspectors from ICQRF (Central Inspectorate for Quality Protection and Fraud Repression) of MiPAAF, during the searches, performed sampling on both semi-processed and packaged and labeled products.

Verifications could be conducted by, among other things, applying the analysis protocol developed by researchers at the Stazione Sperimentale per le Conserve Alimentari di Parma (SSICA). An innovative analytical system that allows the origin of tomatoes to be traced with infallible accuracy through the characterization of minerals in canned goods. (2)

Breasts, other crimes. Environmental protection and construction abuse

Law enforcement authorities also ascertained:

– Italian Food SpA’s non-compliance with a decree to ‘suspend production activities at the Venturina Terme plant for repeated environmental violations,’ served in March 2021,

– ‘the construction in that area of a building of about 4,000 square meters in the absence of building permit‘. This was followed by charges against the legal representative for the crimes of failure to comply with authority measures (Article 650 of the Criminal Code) and work carried out without a building permit (Presidential Decree 380/01, Article 31).

Asso-Consum, prompt action to protect consumers

Asso-Consum immediately filed for recognition as a person aggrieved, through its attorney Miriam Chianese. A timely intervention preceding the filing of a civil suit, pending compensation for damages suffered by consumers.

Giovanna d’Arco of the Naples Bar has just intervened in the Court of Chieti in the case against Filippo Antonio De Cecco. To claim justice over another trade fraud involving more than 35 thousand tons of wheat of different origin to that declared. (3)

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Agribusiness. Scarlet red. Prosecuted 6 people for trade fraud. Extraordinary seizure of canned tomatoes in large Italian agribusiness company. Press release, 4/26/21
(2) Dario Dongo. Preserves, an analysis is enough to reveal the origin of tomatoes. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 6/26/20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/innovazione/conserve-basta-un-analisi-a-rivelare-l-origine-del-pomodoro
(3) Dario Dongo. Filippo Antonio De Cecco, maxi-fraud on the origin of wheat. Chieti’s GIP has the floor. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6/26/20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/filippo-antonio-de-cecco-maxi-frode-sull-origine-del-grano-la-parola-al-gip-di-chieti