Authorities in Spain and Portugal, coordinated by Europol, have uncovered what they are calling a criminal network involving contaminated clams that were responsible for the food poisoning of at least 27 individuals in Spain. The investigation into the trafficking of contaminated clams resulted in dismantling this criminal network involving poachers, intermediaries and distribution companies, and the location of hideouts where harvested clams were stored in Portugal. The criminal network was active for at least a year earning up to €9 million with more than 1 000 tonnes of illegally caught clams. The illegal clams were harvested in Portugal, and then moved to Spain for the most lucrative seasons – the summer and the end-of-the-year holidays. After a brief clean up, the contaminated clams were sold in markets and restaurants. Washing the clams eleminated the bacteria (E. coli), but did not eliminate the viruses (Norovirus genogroup I and II and Hepatitis A).
Read the Europol Press release