More than €230 million ($250 million) worth of counterfeit food and drink goods has been seized in a joint Europol-Interpol operation.

‘Operation Opson VI’, which involved 61 countries carrying out more than 50,000 checks between December 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, saw a clampdown on “potentially harmful food and beverages”.

“Opson VI confirmed the threat that food fraud represents, as it affects all types of products and all regions of the world,” saidChris Van Steenkiste, head of Europol's Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition.

He added: “Once again the good cooperation on a European and global level was paramount to disrupt the criminal gangs behind the illicit trade in counterfeit and unregulated food and drink.”

This year four more countries took part in the annual operation, which is supported by customs, police and national food regulatory bodies in addition to partners from the private sector.

Many of the participating countries had a focus on counterfeit alcoholic beverages, with Italy and Greece seizing more than 1,000 litres of fake wine and spirits, resulting in eight arrests.

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