The European Commission has warned of a boom in counterfeits of food and drink products entering the European Union, with more than five million fake items seized by customs officials last year.

This is 118% more than the numbers of seizures in 2004, the first time the food/drink category has exceeded five million.

The Commission warned of health problems associated with the issue: “A secret wave of dangerous fakes is threatening the people in Europe.”

Stressing Chinese fraudsters dominated the trade, Brussels said 72% of food/drink articles seized came from mainland China; 14% from Hong Kong; 4% Taiwan; 2% Switzerland; 2% Syria; 2% Turkey; 2% Ukraine; 1% Russia; and 1% other countries.