Operation OPSON

Operation OPSON is a Europol INTERPOL joint operation targeting fake and substandard food and beverages.

Operation OPSON, in all its phases, has retained the same legal scope and framework targeting:

  • Counterfeit food and beverages
  • Substandard food and beverages

Food products are defined as any item or substance intended to be, or reasonably expected to be, ingested by humans or animals. Beverages are defined as drinkable liquids, that is to say liquids intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans or animals.

Food products do not include live animals (unless being prepared for sale in a market), plants prior to harvesting, medicinal products, cosmetics, tobacco and tobacco products, narcotic or psychotropic substances, or residues and contaminants.

A counterfeit food product is defined as a food product infringing an Intellectual Property Right. All intellectual property rights defined under national and European law are included.

A substandard food product is defined as a product which does not meet the criteria required by European and national laws regarding its production, packaging, storage and distribution. Generally speaking, it is a product of a quality inferior to that which is legally required under European and national standards.

Both European and national legislations on intellectual property rights and food safety were enforced during the operation.

The operation OPSON is embedded within the EU Policy Cycle (EMPACT priority).

OPSON VIII Participating countries: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo (Democratic Rep.), Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mauritania, Moldova, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Main figures


  • $40 million worth of potentially dangerous food and drinks seized
  • 407 arrest warrants
  • 77 countries
  • 12 000 tonnes of potentially dangerous fake food and drink seized
  • 27 579 inspections


01 December 2019
30 June 2020