In Almeria, 26 companies have been investigated accused of defrauding consumers by selling imported fruit and vegetables from Morocco as Spanish-grown since 2019. So far 10 companies, found guilty of the practice, were found guilty. This sees Spanish companies take advantage of the cheaper labor in Morocco to import low-cost produce into Spain before marketing it as Spanish-grown and selling it for higher prices.
Morocco is only allowed to export a certain amount of produce to Spain each year. This means that companies which relabel Moroccan foods as Spanish are likely to also be flouting the regulations relating to the quotas for Moroccan produce permitted to be sold in Spain.
Officials have regularly inspected products coming in from non-EU countries, including Morocco, since 2019 following allegations in 2017 and 2018 of various Almeria-based companies selling cheaper North African produce as Spanish.
A total of 226 inspections were carried out in 2019 and another 267 in 2020, while so far this year 179 more have been carried out. These checks resulted in the 26 investigations being carried out, including two in 2019, 11 in 2020 and 13 in 2021, and 10 fines have been enforced.