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in memoriam
12,697 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Chinese Honey Laundered in U.S., Seattle Paper Exposes the continued fraud.

By Alan Harman

Big shipments of contaminated honey from China are being laundered in other countries to avoid U.S. import fees, protective tariffs or taxes imposed on foreign products that intentionally undercut domestic prices.

A five-month investigation by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found that in a series of shipments in the past year, tons of honey produced in China passed through the ports of Tacoma and Long Beach, Calif., after being fraudulently marked as a tariff-free product from Russia.

It found other shipments routed through India , Malaysia , Australia , Indonesia , and Thailand .

The report, which mirrors a story in Bee Culture back in 2002, says tens of thousands of pounds of honey entering the U.S. each year come from countries that raise few bees and have no record of producing honey for export.

“In the U.S., where bee colonies are dying off and demand for imported honey is soaring, traders of the thick amber liquid are resorting to elaborate schemes to dodge tariffs and health safeguards in order to dump cheap honey on the market,” the newspaper reports.

“The business is plagued by foreign hucksters and shady importers who rip off conscientious U.S. packers with honey diluted with sugar water or corn syrup - or worse, tainted with pesticides or antibiotics.”

The newspaper cites 350 drums containing 223,300 pounds of Chinese honey that were shipped in August from Hubei Yangzijiang Apiculture Co. in Wuhan , China , and loaded on a ship in Shanghai . Within a month, the shipment arrived at Tuglakabad, an import warehouse near New Delhi .

“There, according to Indian Customs reports, the honey marked ‘for re-export purposes’ was accepted by Apis India Natural Products,” it says. “The drums still contained instructions from the Chinese company, saying the load was to be shipped to America's biggest and oldest honey cooperative - Iowa-based Sue Bee Honey. Two containers of the honey reportedly were shipped to Norfolk , Va. , and three more went to Jacksonville , Fla. ; all were later routed to Iowa .”

The Post Intelligencer says honey laundering is so rampant crackdowns are being pushed in a number of countries, including Russia , India and Australia .

“While very little Russian-made honey is exported, according to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, records obtained by the P-I show more than 11 million pounds of honey purportedly originating in Russia entered the U.S. last year alone,” it says.

In February, it says, the Australian Supreme Court imposed almost a half-million dollars in fines against two companies that shipped 1.8 million quarts of Chinese honey to the U.S. after falsely relabeling the product as Australian.

The Indian Directorate of Revenue Intelligence found that through mid-November last year, 471 out of 665 honey shipments that listed India as the country of origin actually came from China .

The U.S. imported 237 million pounds of raw honey last year. But the newspaper says honey brokers, bee experts and foreign customs officials are suspicious that seven of the top 12 countries appear to be exporting far more honey than their domestic bees produce or their export agencies acknowledge. These countries include Vietnam , India , Thailand , Russia , Taiwan , Indonesia and Malaysia .

“Countries that have few if any commercial beekeepers, such as Singapore , are now exporting significant quantities of honey, records show,” the newspaper says. “That includes the Grand Bahamas, which has been listed as the country of origin for honey shipped into Houston , authorities say.

“And other countries that locally produce mostly dark, strong-tasting honey, such as India , Vietnam and South Korea , are shipping tons of the more marketable white honey.

Vietnam now is the No. 2 honey exporter to the U.S. , second to Canada .

“But Vietnamese honey officials say much Chinese honey is being transshipped through their country, citing 24 containers that arrived in Los Angeles earlier this month (December),” the report says.

You can find local honey thru the National Honey board, Of course beekeepers know that. Just pass it along.

:D Al

Pook's Hollow
4,568 Posts
I'm on a campaign to buy as much "everything" local as I can - if I can't raise it myself, that is. Haven't bought meat at the grocery store in ages.

Our neighbour's son around the corner keeps bees - so that's where our honey comes from. :happy: I often see "his" honeybees in my pasture, so I say hello. :p

398 Posts
As the economy worsens, tax revenue lessens, and folks get more desperate this is all going to get worse.

Much worse.
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