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Italian criminals were counterfeiting olives

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We just can’t believe olive this drama.

Police arrested 19 people in Italy after they were found to be counterfeiting olives. How you might ask? The criminals were taking old olives, from the past year’s harvest, and coating them with copper sulphate, says Eater.

The chemical, writes RT, brightens the colour of the produce, making it appear fresher. The criminals in questions were painting the olives in an attempt to give them all a uniform green colour.

Now, at this point you might be thinking this was a small scale operation, bordering on petty crime with a slight hint of obscure hilarity. You would be wrong.

The police responsible for the bust seized 85,000 tonnes of olives. That’s 8.5 million kilograms, the weight of roughly 15,454 elephants. It also adds up to around 7.7 trillion olives. This was a seriously dedicated group.

Time reports that the criminals are being charged with using banned chemicals and planning to sell food products containing dangerous substances. It turns out that copper sulphate is actually a legal pesticide in most regions. What’s not legal is applying copious amounts directly to produce.

Amazingly, this wasn’t the only olive-related crime to be busted! Police are also investigating a seizure of 7,000 tonnes of olive oil they believe to be counterfeit. The bottles were labelled as being Italian, however DNA tests proved they came from external regions such as Syria and Turkey, writes The Guardian.

The Italian authorities don’t mess around when it comes to olive oil.

Counterfeit food products are very serious business in the Mediterranean country. Eater estimates the Italian counterfeit food market to be worth upward of $1.1 Billion. This news comes just shortly after $400,000 worth of fake Moët champagne was seized by Italian officers.

If you’ve got some fresh ingredients you’re looking to cook with, check out these veal stuffed olives!

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