The Guardia Civil's Seprona division is in charge of the investigation.


Four people have been arrested by the Guardia Civil and charged with an offence against public health for having sought to sell a consignment of imported almonds, knowing that the almonds contained levels of toxin that made them unfit for consumption.

Earlier this week, a shipment of 25 tonnes of almonds from Australia, which had been ordered by a company based in Binissalem, arrived at the port in Alicante. In line with EU regulations, the almonds were analysed and found to contain toxin that was potentially harmful to health. The consignment was seized and sealed and the owner of the company in Mallorca was informed. Health and customs officials told him that he had to destroy the almonds within a certain period of time. The value of the almonds was 40,000 euros. As well as this loss, the company was faced with the cost of incinerating the entire consignment.

The company said that it would send the almonds to the Son Reus incinerators in Palma. Administrative procedures were duly followed and the consignment was forwarded to Palma for its subsequent destruction.

However, documentation showed that the weight of the delivery to Son Reus did not correspond to that of the consignment which had been forwarded from Alicante to Palma. The Guardia Civil's Seprona division established that the almonds had been shelled; Son Reus had only received the shells.

Meanwhile, the shelled almonds had been shipped back to the mainland, with the apparent intention of selling the almonds. Once this was known, Seprona officers acted and arrested the four people. All Mallorcan, they are said to be the company's owner plus others associated with the company.

* Almonds are susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. The EU requires imports to be tested for aflatoxin, which is carcinogenic. If this is found to not meet strict public health regulations, the destruction of consignments is demanded if it is not possible to process the almonds and eliminate the toxin.