Food, fans, aircraft parts – news in brief

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Millions worth of counterfeit food seized // Fan manufacturer exposes counterfeiting factory // Dawn raid on aircraft parts dealer

Millions worth of counterfeit food seized
In the twelfth iteration of Europol’s OPSON operation, around 8,000 tonnes of counterfeit and illegal food products were confiscated, as well as around 6.5 million liters of illegal beverages, mainly alcoholic drinks, according to the authorities. For the first time, the focus of the operation, which took place from December 2022 to April 2023, was primarily on the European market. Among other things, expired food that had been re‑labelled was found – criminal organizations reportedly buy up expired food on a large scale and re‑label it with new best‑before dates, Europol says. Another focus was on products that violated protected names – for example counterfeit Parmigiano Reggiano. Together with law enforcement authorities from 25 countries1, other European authorities2, and partners from the private sector, Europol carried out around 400 inspections, dismantled six criminal networks, and reported around 120 people to the judicial authorities.

Fan manufacturer exposes counterfeiting factory
During a raid on a factory in China in August, local authorities confiscated around 150 counterfeit fans and 260 fake labels bearing the brand name of the renowned German manufacturer ebm-pabst. The counterfeiters were sentenced to a fine. According to a report by the company, the fan manufacturer identified the counterfeiting workshop in the southern Chinese city of Foshan following its own enquiries, which were carried out both online and on site. The actions had been triggered by a customer who had contacted ebm‑pabst because 40 fans he had purchased looked unusual. Subsequently, ebm-pabst investigated the suspicion of counterfeiting together with the brand protection organization Selective Trademark Union (STU China).

//„Counterfeit products (…) undermine our brand reputation and can potentially jeopardize the trust our customers place in us. Meanwhile, their subpar quality and performance can lead to immeasurable damage to our customers’ reputation and equipment safety. It is with a strong determination to safeguard our brand’s integrity and our customers’ interests that we take decisive action.“
Ralf Duckeck, Vice President of Intellectual Property of ebm‑papst Group


Dawn raid on aircraft parts dealer
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) conducted a raid in early December against an aircraft parts supplier based in Greater London, AOG Technics. The three‑man company had already been in the media several times before for allegedly supplying engine spare parts with counterfeit certificates. According to the authorities, the world’s best-selling passenger aircraft engine (CF56), which is used in Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft, and the most‑used cargo aircraft engine (CF6) were affected – as well as possibly well‑known airlines such as Ryanair, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta. The aviation safety authorities of the EU (EASA), the USA (FAA) and the UK (CAA) had already issued warnings about respective aircraft parts. Some airplanes had been grounded for some time.

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1 Participating countries: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
2 Participating authorities: Europol, European Anti‑Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Commission Directorate‑General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), the European Commission Directorate‑General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), national food regulatory authorities
Sources: Europol // ebm-pabst // UK SFO, BBC,

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