Over 1,000 fraudulent products seized in Málaga

One arrested for illegal online sales of dietary and health products

by Lorraine Williamson
fraudulent products

The Policía Nacional has seized over 1,000 food and dietary products in Málaga that were fraudulently sold online. One individual has been arrested for allegedly selling unauthorised reproductions and imitations of various brands.

The suspect reportedly earned €300,000 over two years. During the raid at the suspect’s residence, thousands of adulterated products, packaging materials, three hard drives, and two mobile phones were confiscated. These items were sent to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), with several products identified as potential public health risks.

Investigation details

The investigation began in February 2023. This was as a result of a complaint from a company whose brands were being illegally replicated and sold online. The Central Cybercrime Unit of the Policía Nacional led the investigation. The company’s representatives had reported a website selling unauthorised imitations of their products. Upon examining the website, police discovered a wide range of health-related products from various brands. A test purchase confirmed that the product received was not only different from the original but also lacked a safety cap, inner seal, and expiration date. The active ingredient concentration exceeded European Union limits.

Health and safety violations

AESAN determined that the products could not be legally sold in Spain as they did not meet mandatory food information requirements and did not provide information in Spanish. Additionally, one product contained an active ingredient in quantities that classified it as a medication, not a dietary supplement as advertised.

Financial gains and product seizure

Analysis of the website’s payment methods revealed approximately 4,500 shipments over two years, resulting in around €300,000 in profits. Police efforts then focused on locating the storage site for these products, identifying a residence in Málaga.

Confiscation of hazardous products

The raid on the suspect’s home led to the seizure of over 1,000 adulterated health and dietary products, numerous printed labels, and various empty containers. Out of the confiscated items, 52 samples were sent to AEMPS and 90 to AESAN for evaluation. AESAN’s report confirmed that several products posed potential health risks, with some suspected of being adulterated with pharmacologically active substances.

Arrest and legal proceedings

The suspect responsible for managing and selling the adulterated products was arrested.

Also read: Company uses products unsuitable for consumption

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