Counterfeiters spill the tea

Counterfeited beverages have never been brand owners and consumers’ cup of tea, yet that isn’t stopping fraudulent counterfeiters from serving it

Not one’s cup of tea

Counterfeited food and beverages have always been a fraudulent best seller and it seems that one particular drink is being targeted for its authentici-tea.


Pakistan authorities in October this year seized 700 kg of adulterated and hazardous tea during a raid conducted in Sheikh Abad area. The counterfeit tea was being supplied to different districts of the province, harming consumer health in the process.  In 2019, two people were arrested in Bangalore, India on suspicion of making and selling counterfeits of two branded tea powder products. Police uncovered R 1.5m (around USD21,000) worth of tea powder weighing just under 2,500 kgs, a packaging machine and printing packaging material bearing the company’s brand name and logo.


Spiking one’s drink

In 2019, some 16,000 tonnes and 33 million litres of potentially dangerous fake food and drinks amounting to an estimated USD117 million was seized, with a total of 672 individuals arrested worldwide in Interpol’s Operation Opson VIII. Operation OPSON is a Europol INTERPOL joint operation targeting fake and substandard food and beverages. Police, customs, national food regulatory authorities and private sector partners in 78 countries took part in the five-month operation which ran from December 2018 through April 2019.



“Counterfeit and substandard food and beverages can be found on the shelves in shops around the world, and their increasing sale online is exacerbating the threat that food crime poses to the public,” says INTERPOL’s Director of Organised and Emerging Crime, Paul Stanfield.


Brand and company owners must therefore continue to remain vigilant in taking all precautionary measures available to ensure the integrity and safety of their products.