25 tons of almonds containing dangerous toxins seized in Alicante, Spain

Image of dried almonds.

Image of dried almonds. Credit: Harsha K R/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

As reported in a statement from the Guardia Civil this Saturday, May 20, a joint operation with the Tax Agency saw 25 tons of almonds with very dangerous toxins seized in Spain.

‘Operation Nuts’ was conducted on the Spanish territories of Mallorca and Alicante. As a result, three Spanish nationals were arrested along with a Dutch citizen. They were detained for the alleged crimes of forgery of documents and against public health.

The operation was launched last January following the arrival in Spain of 25 tons of almonds from Australia. The nuts were imported through a process that supposedly complied with the regulations.

Once the almonds arrived in Alicante, an analysis of said fruit was carried out by officials from the Foreign Health Department.

Very high levels of aflatoxins were revealed by the results of the tests. These are very toxic fungi that are harmful for human consumption. The importer of the shipment of almonds was subsequently informed that they had to be destroyed.

Residing on the Balearic island of Mallorca, this individual undertook to do so and requested authorisation for the transfer of the cargo to Mallorca, where the load would be thrown into an incinerator.

Once the almonds arrived in the Mallorcan town of Binissalem, those responsible for transporting the merchandise allegedly broke the sanitary seal of the container. Its contents were then moved to an industrial warehouse on the island.

According to the investigation, they changed the type and size of the containers and moved the almonds to Alicante due to the checks being carried out by the authorities.

Instead of destroying the almonds, they replaced the merchandise with shells of other almonds with a similar volume. Fake certificates were then obtained for the goods from the company in charge of certifying their destruction.

As explained by the Guardia Civil, by using the shipment of almonds with fake documentation those now detained were clearly attempting to divert a product that was highly harmful to the health of anybody who would consume them.

The merchandise was confiscated by investigators in Alicante and the four individuals responsible for the import, transportation and destruction of these almonds were arrested, as reported by larazon.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com