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Commodities and Health Unit of the Italian police - Comando dei carabinieri per la tutela della salute, Nucleo Antisofisticazioni e Sanità (NAS) Health Protection Headquarters

NAS, created in 1962, is a special department of the Corps of Carabinieri operating under the supervision and direction of the Minister of Health. Task of NAS is to protect public health safety. NAS prerogative is the sanitary inspector’s power and Carabinieri NAS carries out investigations and controls on illegal adulteration of foodstuffs, fraud and illegal trafficking of medicines.

Since NAS officers have both the title of health inspector and the authority of judicial police, they can carry out both inspections and investigations. NAS performs these tasks on its own initiative or on request from the offices of the Italian Ministry of Health, including hygiene inspections of enterprises, verification of own control systems, the respect of Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) protocols, sampling activity for analytical control of products and examination of documents and authorisations.

NAS is member of:

  • Food Law Enforcement Practioners ( Forum which aims at including acquaintance, sharing information and cooperation between European colleagues in order to further develop mutual confidence and trust in the resolution of practical control problems
  • International Group of experts on doping settled by Interpol
  • the steering committee of the PFIPC (Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime -
  • Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), a working group of Heads of Medicines Agencies responsible for the regulation of the manufacturing and distribution chains of medicinal products for human and veterinary use in the European Economic Area

On behalf of Carabinieri General Headquarters, NAS cooperates with Europol at the Focal Point COPY (Counterfeiting and Piracy) to combat trafficking of counterfeit and pirated products, included food, beverages and medicines. NAS represents the Italian Government in International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce.

Over the 50% of NAS activity is devoted to inspections on human and veterinary medicines and food safety. Criminal investigation activity is also a primary matter of our territorial units. In 2013, NAS performed 59.850 inspections and 4,522 sampling for analysis referred to food, human and veterinary drugs and foodstuff. These controls resulted in:

  • 21,309 administrative infringements
  • 5,939 individuals prosecuted for criminal offences
  • 123 individuals arrested
  • 1,602 establishments subject to an order for closure
  • 10,365 tonnes of food stuff and medicines seized

Crime investigation results have confirmed that organised crime is increasingly behind international food crime and the illegal trade of counterfeit and false medicines. Foodstuffs illegally produced and counterfeit medicines can seriously threat public health. As well as counterfeit or unapproved products and illegal pesticides used in agriculture on grown vegetables are dangerous for human consumption.

Carabinieri NAS is first of all a police body as well as a sanitary authority and has the longest experience in Europe in implementing this combined administrative and police approach.

Carabinieri NAS EU grants

2008: partner

European Commission – DG Justice, Freedom and Security – Prevention, preparedness and consequence management of terrorism and other security related risks programme (project reference JLS/2008/CIPS/022)

2009: partner

Programme "Prevention of and fight against crime"- call for proposals 2009 - action grants (project reference JLS/2009/ISEC/CFP/AG)

2010: applicant (project leader: Captain Sergio Tirrò)

Programme "Prevention of and fight against crime” – Operational law enforcement cooperation including Joint Investigation Teams (JIts) – ISEC action grants 2010 (project reference HOME/2010/ISEC/AG/JIT-002)

Title: “BACCUS: comBAting food Crime by strengthening law enforcement Cooperation”

Exp. date: May 2014