Knockout to fraud thanks to RAC Carabinieri


Trade fraud, trademark counterfeiting, misuse of PDO names, fake Made in Italy. The Carabinieri of the RAC (Agri-food Protection Department) in recent days uncovered a tunnel of horrors. In a flurry of inspections that caught nearly a hundred operators in the act throughout Italy, including the islands. Wholesalers and warehouses, processors, supermarkets and public establishments. At RACs there is no escape!

‘Honest table’ campaign

The ‘Honest Table’ campaign led RAC Carabinieri from Turin, Parma, Rome, Salerno and Messina to inspect 46 food businesses. The operation led to 5 reports of criminal offenses and 98,834 euros in administrative fines. In addition to the seizure of 3.859 tons of goods, valued at 33 thousand euros.

Undue recall of PDO names, labels that do not comply with specifications, and outlawed information on allergens are the most common violations found in another round of inspections, in the provinces of Turin, Cuneo, Novara, Vercelli, Genoa, Milan, Sondrio, and Pavia. Dairies and wineries, bakeries and restaurants accumulated administrative fines of 57,834 euros.

In the province of Sondrio, three wineries were intimated to comply with the registration of incoming and outgoing wine products. At another company in Lombardy, 1,520 tons of mixed spices (76 cartons) were seized due to the presence of sodium sulfite (E122), the use of which is strictly prohibited in meat destined for butcher shops.

Fraud and fraud in restaurants

Four restaurant owners were fined. Two cases of trade fraud. In Milan, frozen seafood was served, which was offered on the menu as fresh. In Turin, even, expired food.

A complaint of attempted fraud has reached a restaurant owner in Rome who claimed to serve ‘Prosciutto di Norcia Igp’ on the menu. Instead, it turned out to be a banal anonymous ham of lower commercial value.

In the province of Naples, on the other hand, 15 kilograms of frozen seafood products were seized from a restaurateur without traceability on the product’s origin.

Bulgarian lamb and fake Igp pears

Bulgarian sheep lo in sold as Italian lamb thighs will cost the manager of a Roman supermarket dearly, whom the RACs have reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for aggravated trade fraud.

The Pera Igp of Emilia Romagna, on the other hand, was improperly evoked on the ice cream packaging of a business in the Vicenza area, which had 8,300 units of ready-to-deliver product and the packaging for shipments to follow (7,400 lids and 6,720 tubs) seized.

Modica IGP chocolate has in turn come under the scrutiny of the Arma military. In the province of Ragusa, serious deviations from the specification were found in a producer’s laboratory. And a cooperative has been fined for selling as ‘Modica chocolate’ a product made outside the authorization regime of the Protection Consortium.

Wheat and flour, fake Made in Italy and phantom warehouses

Checks at grain wholesalers’ warehouses in the provinces of Naples and Avellino-conducted by the Salerno RAC Carabinieri in cooperation with Asl personnel-then led to the seizure of:

310 tons of wheat, barley and oats, stored in a facility without health registration. The goods, with a total value of 77,500 euros, were banned from sale,

5.175 tons of wheat flour, 207 25-kg bags, bearing the counterfeit logo of a well-known brand in the industry and wording falsely evoking the Italian origin of the raw material. The owner of the warehouse was reported for counterfeiting distinctive trademarks of industrial products (Criminal Code, Art. 473).

Dario Dongo

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.