The following is a script from “Agromafia” which aired on Jan. 3, 2016. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Guy Campanile, producer.
When it comes to knock-offs of Italian classics — you probably think of fake Guccis or Pradas — not food.
But last month, police in Italy nabbed 7,000 tons of phony olive oil. Much of it was bound for American stores. The oil was from North Africa, deodorized with chemicals and rebranded as more expensive Italian extra virgin. The scam was cooked-up by organized crime.
60 MINUTES OVERTIME
DON’T FALL VICTIM TO OLIVE OIL SCAM
Mafia copies of fine olive oil, wine and cheese have fueled an explosion of food crime in Italy. It’s estimated to be a $16 billion-a-year enterprise. The Italians call it “Agromafia”…and it’s a scandal for a people whose cuisine is considered a national treasure.
The image of gangsters in the kitchen was too delicious for us to ignore. So we went to Italy, where we found elite food police hunting wiseguys and signs Agromafia specialties are reaching the United States.
Leave it to the Italians to fight the Mafia with good taste. This panel certifies the authenticity of extra virgin olive oil – a favorite target of the Agromafia.
They can tell at first sip whether extra virgin has been diluted with cheap sunflower oil or canola.
Bill Whitaker and Sergio Tillo CBS NEWS
Bill Whitaker: Sergio, why do they make that sound like they are sucking in air?
Sergio Tirro: They need it to mist it in the back of their throats..
Bill Whitaker: They have to suck it in the back of their throats..
Sergio Tirro: They have to suck it in…
Read the rest of the follow up story here: