A shipment of 22 pallets of the offending onion was recently seized in Svinesund in western Sweden, according to a report in the local Strömstads Tidning daily.
High EU import tariffs have rendered the humble vegetable, a must have for a range of culinary dishes, a valuable commodity.
To circumnavigate the punitive tolls, the shipments of garlic are instead fenced through Norway, a country which allows duty-free imports, before finding their way onto the streets of Sweden and other EU countries.
The EU Commission’s anti-fraud office estimates that garlic worth a total of 150 million kronor ($19.2 million) has been smuggled into the EU via Norway.
“The charges for a single shipment, around 22 pallets, amounts to 320,000 kronor,” said Gunnar Oleniusson at the Swedish customs in Svinesund.