OLAF Hub for Seizure of Contaminated Hand Sanitisers
Thanks to OLAF, information about contaminated hand sanitisers from a manufacturer in Turkey could be spread among EU law enforcement authorities and shipments dismantled. In August 2020, Danish authorities first detected the contaminated sanitisers and reported to OLAF. The EU’s anti-fraud office immediately informed other national authorities and was able to reveal the business scheme of the manufacturer in Turkey who also produced on behalf of others. Following the intervention by OLAF, Irish authorities were able to seize shipments and consignments of the illicit product. By now, almost 140,000 litres of hand sanitisers have been seized in the EU, OLAF reported on 15 December 2020. The manufacturer produced the hand sanitisers with unacceptable high levels of methanol, which can cause headaches, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, loss of coordination, and a decreased level of consciousness. OLAF Director-General Ville Itälä remarked that the trade with illicit medicine products in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic is considerably growing, which is why effective teamwork between all law enforcement authorities at the EU and national level is pivotal.