In a collaborative effort with the veterinary services of the Provincial Health Department of the Aragon Government, the Valencian Community, and the Junta de Andalucía, the Guardia Civil has successfully concluded Operation Potacar, resulting in the confiscation of over 28 tons of unfit food.
The confiscated food was found in distribution warehouses located in the provinces of Zaragoza, Valencia, and Almería. Throughout the operation, eight individuals have been arrested and a further 81 are under investigation. Their alleged offenses include fraud, public health violations, document forgery, and membership in a criminal organisation.
The initial inspection took place at the premises of a company located in Cuarte de Huerva (Zaragoza). Here, 1,222 kilograms of food were seized due to irregularities such as re-labelling with extended expiration or best-before dates. Upon tracing the products’ origins, investigators confirmed the distribution of various batches to other establishments, also with expired dates.
In a second inspection of another company in Zaragoza, the Guardia Civil confiscated 1,708 kilograms of products under identical circumstances. These included expired consumption dates, as well as food items that were meant to be marketed as fresh produce. However, it had been frozen prior to their expiration dates and subsequently sold after the expiration had passed.
In addition to this company, 19 other establishments in the towns of Calatayud, Alagón, La Puebla de Alfindén, Cuarte de Huerva, and the neighbourhoods of Monzalbarba and Santa Isabel were inspected, revealing irregularities detected by the SEPRONA (Nature Protection Service).
During another inspection, investigators travelled to the Valencian town of Xirivella, where they, in conjunction with inspectors from the Valencian Community Health Department, discovered a company selling products with expired dates and discrepancies in labelling.
Numerous establishments inspected
Furthermore, in this third phase spanning several months, numerous establishments were inspected in Zaragoza, Alfajarín, La Puebla de Alfindén, Casablanca, Villanueva de Gállego, Zuera; Almudévar (Huesca); Benicassim (Castellón); Xirivella, Godella, and Liria (Valencia); Elda (Alicante); Huercal and Huercal Overa (Almería); Murcia, Puerto Lumbreras, Cartagena, and Mazarrón (Murcia). In total, law enforcement agents seized 18,196 kilograms of food unfit for human consumption.
During the final phase, SEPRONA and inspectors from the Aragon Health Department carried out 45 additional inspections at various establishments within the province, resulting in the confiscation of 6,993 kilograms of irregular products. The majority of these foods were found in a Zaragoza-based company that supplied meat products to other establishments.