18 farmers in Sevilla fall victim to olive fraud

Two arrested in Sevilla for defrauding farmers

Two arrested in Sevilla for defrauding farmers. Credit: GuardiaCivil.es

Imagine entrusting your hard-earned olive harvest only to be deceived. This was the harsh reality for 18 farmers in Carmona, Sevilla, victims of a fraudulent olive scheme.

A report published on Wednesday, January 24, detailed how the Guardia Civil apprehended two individuals in connection with a deceitful operation involving the purchase of olives.

The arrests were part of the larger Operation Tahunat in the Sevillian town of Carmona, which uncovered a huge agricultural fraud, in which the olive farmers did not receive any payment for their goods.

Operation Tahunat

The Guardia Civil’s investigation led them to a seemingly inactive oil mill. Here, they discovered decomposing olives in hoppers and belts, a testament to the mill’s neglect. The facility’s manager was located, leading to a more detailed inspection.

The agents found the grinding machinery in dire sanitary conditions, with oil spills littering the ground. Further probing revealed the use of fictitious labels, one dated with an expiration date of 2022, and another illegally borrowed from a different company.

These labels were used to distribute or sell bottled oil, bypassing required health and administrative regulations.

Health hazards and legal breaches

Experts in agri-food quality from Sevilla, collaborating with the investigators, confirmed the absence of crucial documents. The owners lacked the General Health Registry of a food company and the Agri-Food Industry Registry, fundamental for legal operation.

As a result of these findings, 23 tonnes of oil and 25 tonnes of decomposing olives were seized. These products, already distributed, were halted due to the absence of necessary permits and traceability.

Charges and wider implications

The detainees face multiple charges, including fraud, industrial property infringement, document falsification, and offenses against the market and consumers.

This case not only highlights the plight of the defrauded farmers but also underscores the importance of vigilant regulation in the agricultural industry.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.