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25 tonnes of almonds with highly dangerous toxins seized

Joint operation of the Tax Agency and Civil Guard

  • Four people have been arrested in the operation for an offence against public health.
  • The withdrawn almonds were presumably intended for human consumption with a very dangerous and unhealthy fungus.

20 May 2023.- The Tax Agency and the Guardia Civil, as part of the 'Nuts' operation, have seized 25 tonnes of almonds containing highly dangerous toxins.Four people have been arrested in the operation, three Spanish nationals and one from the Netherlands, for the alleged offences of forgery of documents and crimes against public health.

The operation began last January, following the arrival in Spain of 25 tonnes of almonds from Australia through an import process that allegedly complied with the regulations.

Once the almonds arrived in the province of Alicante, an analysis of the fruit was carried out by the Foreign Health Department of the Government Delegation of Alicante, and the result was a very high level of aflatoxins (fungi that are highly toxic and harmful for human consumption).

The importer of the almonds was therefore informed that they had to be destroyed.This person, domiciled in Mallorca, undertook to do so and requested authorisation from the health authorities for the shipment of the cargo to Mallorca and its destruction in an incinerator.

Once the almonds arrived in the town of Binissalem, those responsible for transporting the goods for destruction broke the sanitary seal of the container in which they were being transported and the goods were deposited in an industrial warehouse.They then proceeded to change the type and size of the containers and moved the almonds to Alicante because of the checks being carried out by the authorities.

At the same time, instead of destroying the almonds, they replaced the goods with shells of other almonds of similar volume, obtaining certificates from the company responsible for certifying the destruction of all 25 tonnes of almonds containing toxins.In this way, by means of material and documentary falsehoods, they tried to divert a product that was highly harmful to health for consumption.

The investigators finally managed to immobilise the goods in Alicante and arrested the four people responsible for importing, transporting and destroying the almonds.

The operation was carried out by the Tax Agency's Customs Surveillance Service and the Guardia Civil's Nature Protection Service.

Film of the operation (go to the following website to download the video):