honey laundering–US bees provide less than half of honey demand
September 28, 2010, 7:34 pm
Filed under: bees, food issues | Tags: , , , , , ,

Great piece of investigative reporting in Seattle Pi. This came through a bee list I’m on. It’s from 2008, but there is so much interesting stuff in here about how food products are shipped packed reshipped, tracked, etc–definitely worth another look! The article has some nice graphics about which countries are big exporters. And he talks about why we should care–the prohibited antibiotics being used, watering honey down, cutting it with corn syrup, etc. Basically it boils down to the Chinese trying to avoid high tariffs and anti-dumping regulations.

I need to look around and see if there have been any new developments on this.

Ok, I do loooove the google. I googled the reporter’s name, Andrew Schneider, and came up with this. As it happens a big arrest came through on this topic just this month.

A group of German and Chinese are charged with conspiring to import more than $40 million of Chinese honey to avoid paying anti-dumping duties of approximately $80 million! That’s a lot of honey. Customs seized 3200 drums of it! It makes me so sad to think of all that wasted bee labor.

The label changing game is interesting as one honey packer noted, “We estimate that millions of pounds of Chinese honey continue to enter the U.S. from countries that do not have commercial honey businesses!” Here’s a longer version of the article for AOL.

A nice discussion of the Chinese honey trade practice is also found here.

According to that article, “The United States produces less than half the honey that it consumes, relying on imports to make up the difference from major honey producers such as Canada, Argentina and Brazil. This article suggests that as much as a third of total imports come from countries with no significant commercial honey exporting business.

And four of the top eight countries – India, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia – export far more honey than their domestic bees produce!”

It sounds like a hard market to be in…and tough to be sure about the origin of your honey if you’re buying any of the big brands.


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