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Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener
As crime sagas go, a scheme rigged by a sophisticated cartel of global traders has all the right blockbuster elements: clandestine movements of illegal substances through a network of co-operatives in Asia, a German conglomerate, jet-setting executives, doctored laboratory reports, high-profile takedowns and fearful turncoats.
What makes this worldwide drama unusual, other than being regarded as part of the largest food fraud in U.S. history, is the fact that honey, nature’s benign golden sweetener, is the lucrative contraband.
Honey has become a staple in the North American diet. Those that do not consume it straight from bear-shaped squeeze bottles eat it regularly whether they know it or not – honey is baked into everything from breakfast cereals to cookies and mixed into sauces and cough drops. Produced by bees from the nectar of flowers and then strained for clarity, honey’s all-natural origin has garnered lofty status among health-conscious consumers who prefer products without refined sweeteners (think white sugar and processed corn syrup). About 1.2 million metric tons of honey is produced worldwide each year.
What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste.
None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry.
Originally posted by gemineye
reply to post by freedish
I've always wondered... how do you know if honey is truly organic? I'm not questioning YOU at all. I've heard that there's no such thing as organic honey because bees fly around and to my knowledge, there's really no way to regulate where they go, so who's to say that they don't eat from flowers that have been fertilized with Miracle Grow or something similar? I mean, that doesn't bother me, but wouldn't that keep it from being truly organic?
Maybe there's a whole lot I don't know about the process. I'll admit to that. It's just something I always wondered about. Anyway, you get a star for making me think, lol.
The presence of pollen in the hive plays a vital role in the productivity and well being of the colony. Pollen is the principal protein source to bees, but also provides vitamins, minerals and fats essential for the development of brood and young adult bees. The protein content of pollen can vary from 7 to 30% (by weight) with an average of about 22%.
Longer periods of insufficient protein will affect the entire colony resulting in reduced egg laying and brood development. Young nursing bees may not fully develop their hypopharyngeal glands causing insufficient production of brood food. This in turn may lead to spotty brood patterns that are often misdiagnosed as the result of a failing queen. To offset any pollen shortages, pollen supplements or substitutes can be given. Pollen supplements will not necessarily cause the bees to reduce pollen collection in the field.
China's Honey Trade Buzzing With Corruption
Businessman Yan Yongxiang was trying to get around stiff U.S. levies on imports of cheap Chinese honey. So he sent 15 shipping containers of cut-rate honey to the Philippines, where it was relabeled and sent on to the United States.
It's called honey-laundering, and the subterfuge let Yan skirt $656,515 in taxes before he was caught in a bust and pleaded guilty. Yan's factory in central China's Henan province even filtered the metals and pollen from the honey so that U.S. tests would not show it came from China, according to the 60-year-old's plea agreement. Now he awaits sentencing in a U.S. jail.
Honey-laundering is just one of many unsavory practices that have besmirched China's vast honey industry and raised complaints from competing American beekeepers. China produces more honey than anywhere else in the world, about 300,000 metric tons (660 million pounds) a year or about 25 percent of the global total. But stocks are tainted with a potentially dangerous antibiotic and cheaper honeys are increasingly getting passed off as more expensive varieties.
Originally posted by chiponbothshoulders
I found this out when I developed allergies to honey long ago.
Buy locally,it will keep you feeling well.