Chinese Honey: Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves. Here’s How To Know The Difference
Unfortunately, about one third of all the honey consumed in the USA is most likely smuggled in from China, meaning that it is probably tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.
The Food Safety News has conducted a study which showed that people here consume millions of pounds of imported, unsafe honey, otherwise banned in many countries.
During the past two years, there were widespread arrests and convictions of major smugglers, but still, the flow of Chinese honey went on unstopped, despite assurances from the Food and Drug Administration and other federal officials that the hundreds of millions of pounds reaching store shelves were genuine and safe.
Food Safety News also interviewed a number of experts and according to their claims, some of the greatest and most long-established U.S. honey packers buy mislabeled, transshipped, or maybe altered honey knowingly. They have the opportunity to sell this honey at a lower price compared to the companies who rigorously inspect honey and opt for quality and safety.
According to Richard Adee, the Washington Legislative Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association, it is no secret that the process of smuggling honey is being driven by money, the wish to save a couple of pennies a pound.
The large packers are still using imported honey of questionable safety that they are aware is illegal, since they know their chances of getting caught are slight.
Food safety investigators from the European Union have blocked all shipments of honey from India due to the presence of lead and illegal animal antibiotics.
Furthermore, investigations found out that an even bigger amount of honey apparently had been concocted without the help of bees, made from artificial sweeteners and then extensively filtered to remove any proof of contaminants or adulteration or indications of precisely where the honey in fact originated.
The uncontrolled honey filtering and the record quantity of the Chinese honey purchased by major US packers was proved by testing of international and government shipping tallies, customs documents and interviews with some of North America’s top honey importers and brokers.
Suebee Co-Op is the nation’s oldest and biggest honey packer and seller, and thus they were examined by the Food Safety News and were asked to respond to these allegations and to respond where they get their honey. But, the company remained silent, and did not say anything on the topic, refusing to answer to the phone calls and emails they repeatedly got. The same thing happened with another major honey seller as well.
Indian Honey Will Not Be Consumed in EU
European Union countries, as well as some others officially forbade this questionable honey at the beginning of June 2010. on the rest of the continents, including America, people live in places where the FDA checks just few of the thousands of shipments that arrive through 22 American ports on a yearly basis.
The data collected by the FDA indicate that between January and June, only 24 honey shipments were stopped from entering the country. The agency does not expose the number of loads and the inspection team.
Moreover, during the very same period, the US Department of Agriculture has said that nearly 43 million pounds of honey entered the U.S. 37.7 million pounds of these 43 came from India. You read well, the same honey that is forbidden in the European Union because of insufficient and proper paperwork proving that it is not from China and due to proofs that it contained animal medicine and lead and other heavy metals.
According to Elise Gagnon, president of Odem International, a worldwide trading house that specializes in bulk raw honey, there are yet millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming in the US and it is all coming now from India and Vietnam and the whole industry knows that.
As the FDA claims, they have certain regulations that forbid food which are also banned in other countries from entering the U.S., but, this time, its poor excuse was that did not know anything about honey that has been banned from other countries.
Adee has informed us that the European ban against Indian honey is well known by everyone, meaning that the FDA’s response is absurd.
They are the biggest honey production company in the country, and they posses about 80,000 bee colonies in five states. Everyone probably asks why our country is the dumping ground of the world for something that is banned in the rest of the countries. Instead having the safest food supply in the world, we are letting in boatloads of this adulterated honey that the rest of the countries know is contaminated. The worst thing is that the FDA takes no action.
Utilizing the existing resources, the FDA says that they make the strongest efforts possible, and will take even more action once the newly passed Food Safety Modernization Act is up and running.
What are the origins of the honey we consume?
According to the USDA, the U.S. beekeepers can only supply nearly 48 percent of what is needed in the country. The remaining 52 percent is supplied from 41 other countries. People in USA consume around 400 million pounds of honey a year, which is nearly 1.3 pounds per person. Homes, restaurants and institutions spend about 35 percent of this amount, and the industry for making beverages, sauces, baked goods, cereals, and other processed foods spends about 65 percent of it.
Import Genius is a private shipping intelligence service which has investigated its databases of all US Customs import data for Food safety News. This is what they have revealed:
- Only in the past 18 months, the US has imported about 208 million pounds of honey
- Nearly 60 percent of the imported honey (about 123 million pounds) was imported from Asian countries, the traditional laundering points for Chinese honey, with 45 million pounds coming from India alone
- Only around 48 million pounds was imported from trusted and normally reliable suppliers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Canada
Adde is a former president of the American Honey Producers Association, and claims that this should represent a red flag to the FDA and the federal investigators. India does not have enough capacity of bees, not even nearly, to produce 45 million pounds of honey, so it is logically that it comes from China.
What makes Chinese honey harmful?
In 2001, the U.S. Commerce Department inflicted a stiff tariff of $1.20 a pound on Chinese honey to talk this country out of dumping its dirt-cheap product on the American market and forcing hundreds of US beekeepers out of the business. After this, the Chinese honey makers tried different illegal methods to hide the origin of their honey.
During the same period, Chinese beekeepers were facing a bacterial epidemic of foulbrood disease race through their hives at wildfire speed, which killed off tens of millions of bees. This disease was combated against by the use of a few Indian-made animal antibiotics, including chloramphenicol.
Chloramphenicol is confirmed to have many harmful effects and medical researchers have found out that children who were given chloramphenicol as an antibiotic were found to be prone to DNA damage and carcinogenicity. Soon after this, the FDA banned its presence in food.
The head of the major honey brokerage company CPNA International and co-chairman of the International Committee for Promotion of Honey and Health, Ronald Phipps, concludes that this country needs imported honey.
However, people here do not need circumvented honey, honey that is mislabeled as to country of origin, contaminated with antibiotics and heavy metals. This is the right, the true thing we should learn from this article.
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