Intense price pressure from retailers and discounters is forcing food manufacturers to purchase ingredients from all around the world, including preprocessed foodstuffs. This has resulted in enormous flows of goods, and once these products have passed through the hands of three, four or more middlemen before they reach manufacturers, it becomes extremely difficult to trace their origins. This jungle of cross-border trading gives criminals a golden opportunity to re-label commodities. After all, the authorities have little control over what is stored and transferred in Europe’s cold storage warehouses.
A prime example is Werk II, a refrigerated warehouse in the western German town of Neuss, which served as a gateway for a large proportion of the allegedly tainted frozen convenience food to enter the country. In December and January alone, at least 14 shipments were unloaded here, and then sent to supermarket chains. The concrete complex in the district of Norf serves as a transshipment center for goods from across Europe. A sign in German, English, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian directs delivering drivers to the reception office.
And you know they don’t lie.