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Italian extra virgin olive oil is valuable. That's why is so often faked

In the fashion business, there are companies that sell rank counterfeits as “Made ​​in Italy.” Appparently in olive oil too: 8000 tons were recently seized from the Azienda Olearia Valpesana, important bulk olive oil business

Italy is synonymous with spaghetti, pizza, mandolins and Mafia. In recent years, Italy also appears to be becoming home to counterfeit, low quality and fake oil.

The first statement is every bit as false as the second.

The Azienda Olearia Valpesana case
8,000 tons, 8,000,000 liters. False extra virgin oil, not harmful to the health of consumers. This news certainly caused damage to the reputation of Italy, and of Italian honest producers of olive oil.
The financial police (Guardia di Finanza) found 4,323.934 tons of fake extra virgin olive oil obtained from illegal mixing with lower oil categories, such as lamp and virgin olive oils. 3850.12 tons of extra virgin olive oil were identified as100% Italian, but were obtained by mixing of products of Spanish and Greek.
If these results are confirmed by the judiciary, it would be the most important discovery of oil fraud in Italy, also because, according to the financial police, the offenses date from 2010 or earlier.
The investigation began in May of this year and "the discussion of interesting documents acquired, together with the results of wiretaps and data intercepts, has allowed the discovery of a fraudulent mechanism.... Among the documents initially acquired during the tax audit were several contracts for the purchase of a lots of virgin / extra virgin [oil] from Spanish suppliers on which, alongside the officially declared values, handwritten notes showed indicated the real chemical parameters (alkyl esters, peroxides and level of acidity), significantly beyond those required by European Community legislation in order to claim that a product is extra virgin olive oil. "
"Imagine, to give an idea of ​​the fraud taking place, that actual mixtures were being made using raw materials from Greece and Spain of up to 30-40%.
The final product was sold in bulk to a series of major bottling companies, located in different Italian regions, the most important of national prominence, which carried out the subsequent packaging and sale to retail chains throughout the country and abroad. In other cases the product was being shipped directly to bottling companies operating abroad. "

Italy is not a country of fraudsters
Investigations are ongoing and demonstrate that Italy is a serious country, where the checks are performed and where frauds are not tolerated.
In Italy there are 700,000 olive growers, 6,000 millers and hundreds of olive oil businesses and bottlers.
This fraud, though striking, is merely about 1% of the oil that Italy produces and sells.
So is it right to say that Italy is the land of scams, frauds and forgeries?
Is it right to say, after James Holmes and the so-called “Batman murders,” to say that the U.S. is a country where dangerous killers walk free?
Generalizations are always wrong, creating divisions and disagreements.
The United States is a country where killers are caught and convicted.
Italy is a country where fraudsters are caught and convicted.

by Alberto Grimelli
06 august 2012, World News > Italy

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