/ 11 December 2023

A slick scheme 

Free public domain CC0 photo.
Free public domain CC0 photo.

When you think “lucrative criminal enterprise”, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) might not be the first thing that comes to mind… European authorities are cracking down on gangs cashing in on the “liquid gold’s” popularity with fake/lesser quality substitutes. Anyone who’s opened a Mediterranean cookbook would know EVOO is a prized ingredient, with countries like Spain, Italy and Greece producing about 67% of the world’s supply. Globally, it’s a $33.8 billion industry that’s tipped to grow faster than you can say ‘olive tree’ over the next decade… Europol has arrested 11 people to date – they’ve been accused of selling fake EVOO containing sunflower and canola oils for up to $45/litre in the US. And they went to some bother… Europol officers say they used chlorophyll and beta-carotene to give the fraudulent oil its traditional hues. 

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