Organized crime including the Italian Mafia is "suspected of playing a major role in the horsemeat scandal that has seen supermarket shelves cleared of a series of products and triggered concerns about the contamination of the UK's food chain" as reported by Jamie Doward for The Observer: "experts within the horse slaughter industry have told the Observer there is evidence that both Polish and Italian mafia gangs are running multimillion-pound scams to substitute horsemeat for beef during food production."
Last July anti-Mafia writer Roberto Saviano alleged organized crime increasingly has entered the gastronomic sector with inferior products, and said it's "a sad fate for Italian excellence" as reported by Barbie Latza Nadeau for the Daily Beast.
According to a January 2012 parliament report the Mafia in Italy "controls agricultural and food businesses worth 12.5 billion euros ($16 billion) a year, or 5.6 percent of all criminal operations in the country" as reported by Reuters: "organised crime has spread its involvement through the entire food chain from acquisition of farmland to production, from transport to supermarkets."
In addition to flooding the food market with inferior products the Mafia further is muscling out its legitimate rivals. The wise guys are the prime suspects in a sabotage attack last December against a Tuscan vineyard where 80,000 litres of its prized wine "was poured down the drain" as reported by Nick Pisa for the Daily Mail: "raiders broke into the cellars smashing through armoured glass which house the famous Brunello di Montalcino and targeted barrels from the 2007 through to 2012 vintage and then simply turned on the taps."