A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.  A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities.

And the flow of Chinese honey continues despite assurances from the Food and Drug Administration and other federal officials that the hundreds of millions of pounds reaching store shelves were authentic and safe following the widespread arrests and convictions of major smugglers over the last two years.

Thumbnail image for honeycomb406.jpgExperts interviewed by Food Safety News say some of the largest and most long-established U.S. honey packers are knowingly buying mislabeled, transshipped or possibly altered honey so they can sell it cheaper than those companies who demand safety, quality and rigorously inspected honey.

“It’s no secret that the honey smuggling is being driven by money, the desire to save a couple of pennies a pound,” said Richard Adee, who is the Washington Legislative Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association.

“These big packers are still using imported honey of uncertain safety that they know is illegal because they know their chances of getting caught are slim,” Adee said.

Food safety investigators from the European Union barred all shipments of honey from India because of the presence of lead and illegal animal antibiotics.  Further, they found an even larger 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 actually originated.

An examination of international and government shipping tallies, customs documents and interviews with some of North America’s top honey importers and brokers documented the rampant honey laundering and that a record amount of the Chinese honey was being purchased by major U.S. packers.

Food Safety News contacted Suebee Co-Op, the nation’s oldest and largest honey packer and seller, for a response to these allegations and to learn where it gets its honey. The co-op did not respond to repeated calls and emails for comment. Calls and emails to other major honey sellers also were unreturned.

EU Won’t Accept Honey from India

Much of this questionable honey was officially banned beginning June 2010 by the 27 countries of the European Union and others. But on this side of the ocean, the FDA checks few of the thousands of shipments arriving through 22 American ports each year.

According to FDA data, between January and June, just 24 honey shipments were stopped from entering the country. The agency declined to say how many loads are inspected and by whom.

However, during that same period, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that almost 43 million pounds of honey entered the U.S. Of that, the Department of Commerce said 37.7 million pounds came from India, the same honey that is banned in the EU because it contained animal medicine and lead and lacked the proper paperwork to prove it didn’t come from China.

“There are still millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming in the U.S. and it’s all coming now from India and Vietnam and everybody in the industry knows that,” said Elise Gagnon, president of Odem International, a worldwide trading house that specializes in bulk raw honey.

The FDA says it has regulations prohibiting foods banned in other countries from entering the U.S. However, the agency said last month that it “would not know about honey that has been banned from other countries …”

Adee called the FDA’s response “absurd.” He said the European ban against Indian honey is far from a secret.

“Why are we the dumping ground of the world for something that’s banned in all these other countries?” asked Adee, who, with 80,000 bee colonies in five states, is the country’s largest honey producer.

“We’re supposed to have the world’s safest food supply but we’re letting in boatloads of this adulterated honey that all these other countries know is contaminated and FDA does nothing.”

The food safety agency said it’s doing the best it can with existing resources and will do more when the newly passed Food Safety Modernization Act is up and running.

Where Is Our Honey Coming From?

honeypot350.jpgThe U.S. consumes about 400 million pounds of honey a year – about 1.3 pounds a person. About 35 percent is consumed in homes, restaurants and institutions. The remaining 65 percent is bought by industry for use in cereals, baked goods, sauces, beverages and hundreds of different processed foods.

However, the USDA says U.S. beekeepers can only supply about a 48 percent of what’s needed here.  The remaining 52 percent comes from 41 other countries.

Import Genius, a private shipping intelligence service, searched its databases of all U.S. Customs import data for Food Safety News and provided a telling breakdown:

– The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months.

– About 48 million pounds came from trusted and usually reliable suppliers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay and Mexico.

– Almost 60 percent of what was imported – 123 million pounds – came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

“This should be a red flag to FDA and the federal investigators. India doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity – enough bees – to produce 45 million pounds of honey. It has to come from China,” said Adee, who also is a past president of the American Honey Producers Association.

Why Is Chinese Honey Considered Dangerous?

Chinese honeymakers began using various illegal methods to conceal the origin of their honey beginning in about 2001. That’s when the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a stiff tariff – as much as $1.20 a pound — on Chinese honey to dissuade that country from dumping its dirt-cheap product on the American market and forcing hundreds of U.S. beekeepers out of the business.

About the same time, Chinese beekeepers saw a bacterial epidemic of foulbrood disease race through their hives at wildfire speed, killing tens of millions of bees. They fought the disease with several Indian-made animal antibiotics, including chloramphenicol. Medical researchers found that children given chloramphenicol as an antibiotic are susceptible to DNA damage and carcinogenicity. Soon after, the FDA banned its presence in food.

“We need imported honey in this country.  But, what we don’t need is circumvented honey, honey that is mislabeled as to country of origin, honey that is contaminated with antibiotics or heavy metal,” said Ronald Phipps, co-chairman of the International Committee for Promotion of Honey and Health and head of the major honey brokerage firm CPNA International.

Heavy Metal Contamination

The Chinese have many state-of-the-art processing plants but their beekeepers don’t have the sophi
stication to match. There are tens of thousands of tiny operators spread from the Yangtze River and coastal Guangdong and Changbai to deep inland Qinghai province.  The lead contamination in some honey has been attributed to these mom-and-pop vendors who use small, unlined, lead-soldered drums to collect and store the honey before it is collected by the brokers for processing.

The amount of chloramphenicol found in honey is miniscule. Nevertheless, public health experts say it can cause a severe, even fatal reaction — aplastic anemia — in about one out of 30,000 people.

European health authorities found lead in honey bought from India in early 2010. A year later, the Indian Export Inspection Council tested 362 samples of honey being exported and reported finding lead and at least two antibiotics in almost 23 percent of the test samples.

The discovery of lead in the honey presents a more serious health threat.

“The presence of heavy metals is a totally different story, because heavy metals are accumulative, they are absorbed by organs and are retained. This is especially hazardous for children,” Phipps said.

All the bans, health concerns and criticism of Indian honey hasn’t slowed the country’s shipping of honey to the U.S. and elsewhere. In February, India’s beekeepers and its government agricultural experts said that because of weather and disease in some colonies, India’s honey crop would be late and reduced by up to 40 percent.

Yet two months later, on April 15 in Ludhiana, officials of Kashmir Apiaries Exports and Little Bee Group, India’s largest honey exporters, posed for newspaper photographers in front of “two full honey trains” carrying 180 20-foot cargo carriers with a record 8.8 million pounds of honey headed for the export ports.

“They’re clearly transshipping honey from China and I can’t believe that they are so brazen about it to put it right on the front page of a newspaper,” honey producer Adee said.

Data received by FSN from an international broker in India on Friday showed that within the last month 16 shipments – more than 688,000 pounds – of honey went from the Chinese port of Nansha in Guangzhou China to Little Bee Honey in India.  The U.S. gurus of international shipping documents – Import Genius – scanned its database and found that just last week six shipments of the honey went from Little Bee to the port of Los Angeles. The honey had the same identification numbers of the honey shipped from China.

Government investigators in the U.S. and Europe and customs brokers in India told FSN that previous successful criminal investigations had proven that the Chinese honey suppliers and their brokers are masterful at falsifying shipping documents.

Each of the shipments – whether from China or India – bore an identical FDA inspection number. However, FDA’s Division of Import Operations did not respond to requests for information on how and where it issued that FDA number.

Food Safety News left several messages for the Little Bee Group to discuss the source of their honey and how they were breaking records when the rest of India’s honey producers were months behind schedule. None of the phone messages or emails were returned.

Other major Indian honey exporters insist that India gets no honey from China. However, Liu Peng-fei and Li Hai-yan of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences disagree. In a scientific study of the impact the global financial crisis is having on China’s honey industry, the apiculture scientists wrote that to avoid the “punitive import tariffs” Chinese enterprises “had to export to the United States via India or Malaysia in order to avoid high tariffs…”

Why Hasn’t Smuggling Stopped?

The massive honey laundering scams that plagued the U.S. for more than a decade – the transshipment of Chinese honey to a second country before being reshipped to the U.S. — were presumably given a deathblow over the past two years.

During that period, Justice Department lawyers and Department of Homeland Security and FDA investigators launched a series of indictments and arrests of 23 German, Chinese, Taiwanese and American corporate officials and their nine international companies.

They were charged with conspiracy to smuggle more than $70 million worth of Chinese honey into the U.S. by falsely declaring that the honey originated from countries other than China. That allowed them to avoid paying stiff anti-dumping charges imposed on China.

It was an impressive series of complex busts spanning three continents, and instant fodder for a great whodunit novel. But, according to some of North America’s largest producers and importers of honey, the arrests bombed as a deterrent.

“There are still millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming into the U.S.A. and it’s all coming now from India and Vietnam. Everybody in the industry knows that,” said Odem International’s Gagnon.

How Do They Get Away With It?

When it comes to honey laundering, the crooks are always trying to stay one step ahead of the criminal investigators.


For example, when customs agents discovered that China usually shipped its honey in blue steel drums, the exporters quickly painted the drums green.

It took investigators a while to learn that often — while the drums were in port or en route at sea — the Chinese shuffled drum labels and phony paperwork showing country of origin as places that didn’t have an onerous anti-dumping tariff. The Russian Honey Federation blew the whistle on the Chinese relabeling millions of pounds as coming from Russia.

After that scam became known, the felons then shipped Chinese honey to countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and even Australia. There the honey was repacked, authentic local documents were issued and the honey was shipped on to the U.S. or elsewhere.

Another favorite con among Chinese brokers was to mix sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery, barley malt sweetener or other additives with a bit of actual honey. In recent years, many shippers have eliminated the honey completely and just use thickened, colored, natural or chemical sweeteners labeled as honey.

However, sophisticated analysis that will match the pollen in honey to flowers from a specific geographic region is available at just two or three laboratories around the world.  There are also simpler, less expensive tests to detect the telltale presence of commercial sweeteners and other adulterants that are more readily available.

A laboratory in Bremen, Germany, founded a half century ago by German beekeepers, can accurately scan honey samples for flower pollen.   There is only one expert in the U.S. known to analyze pollen in honey to determine where it was actually grown and that would be at the Palygnology Laboratory at Texas A&M.  The lab was created and is run by Vaughn Bryant, a forensic palynologist and Professor of Anthropology.

Melissopalynology, or pollen analysis, has been used for years by geologists seeking evidence of ancient coastal areas – often sites of major oil deposits. Scientists tracing the origins of the Shroud of Turin have identified 61 different pollens on the cloth that could only have come from around Jerusalem.

Forensic scientists have used pollen identification to help solve murder, rapes, kidnapping and at least one espionage case. Now, at least in the labs in Texas and Germany, melissopalynologists use pollen to determine – with great accuracy – the geographic area where the bees foraged for the nectar.

“If they find, for example, pollen from flowers that grow in northern latitudes – like China – but it’s found in honey ostensibly produced in tropical countries – like India, Vietnam, Malaysia and the like – you know something’s rotten or illegal,” said CPNA International’s Phipps, who also produces a quarterly, international intelligence report that monitors the country-by-country supply of honey and everyone’s exports.

To avoid detection by concerned purchasers or criminal investigators, some Chinese producers in state-of-the-art processing plants pump the alleged honey, heated and under high pressure, through elaborate ceramic filters. This ultra-filtration removes or conceals all floral fingerprints and indicators of added sweeteners or contaminants.

“The Chinese have refined methods of masking their contaminated product by ultra-filtration so their honey seems perfect. But it’s not honey anymore. There’s no color.  There’s no flavor. There’s nothing.  So you take this perfect product, which could be confused with honey, and you blend it with real Indian honey,” Gagnon said.

“Everyone avoids tariffs because government agents cannot test to prove it’s from China.”

honeytesting-inside.jpgThe FDA says it has sent a letter to industry stating that the agency does not consider ultra-filtered honey to be honey.

“We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ultra-filtered honey.  If we do detect ultra-filtered honey we will refuse entry,” said FDA press officer Tamara Ward.

“FDA is just not looking” was the answer that most honey brokers offeredThey added that the FDA doesn’t want to find it because then the agency would have to test for it, something it is incapable of doing in its existing laboratories.

Honey experts worry that new technologies will make detection of adulterants even more difficult.

At June’s conference of the Institute of Food Technologists in New Orleans, there were hundreds of Chinese vendors working in small clusters beneath bright red banners. They offered for sale almost any spice, food-processing substance or additives a food processor might want and promises of concocting anything else they could dream of. “All FDA approved,” they emphasized to potential clients.

One salesman quickly jerked back his business card when a reporter pulled out a tape recorder to capture the man’s promises offering a “nanoparticle sweetener for honey that cannot be detected.”

Does the FDA Care?

The U.S. Departments of Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have dollar and cents issues to worry about because hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese imports are circumvented by the honey laundering.

“These honey crimes are not a Republican or Democratic, Liberal or Conservative issue.  The country is being ripped off of millions and millions,” Phipps said.

Recent news releases by the border patrol and the FDA say they have developed an anti-smuggling strategy to identify and prevent smuggled foods from entering the United States and posing a threat to national security and consumer safety.

But at the field level, investigators with the two agencies and an agent with ICE’s Commercial Fraud Unit said the cooperation is more on paper then in practice and that the FDA continues to be the weak link. They say the FDA either doesn’t have the resources to properly do the job or is unwilling to commit them.

ICE and the border patrol can and do go after the honey launderers by enforcing the anti-dumping and tariff violation laws. But protecting consumers from dangerous honey, identifying it as adulterated and therefore illegal for importation, falls to the FDA. And many of its enforcement colleagues say the food safety agency doesn’t see this as a priority.

A Justice Department lawyer told Food Safety News that the FDA has all the legal authority and obligation it needs to halt the importation of tainted honey. He cited two sections of the agency’s regulations defining when food products are considered “adulterated.”

The regulations say: “Food is adulterated if it bears or contains a poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health” and “damage or inferiority has been concealed.”

Those two factors pretty much sum up the health concerns that many have with the smuggled honey. But the honey industry and Congress can’t get the FDA to even come up with a legal definition of what honey is.

Eight years ago, America’s beekeepers and some honey packers petitioned FDA to issue an official definition of honey. Their concern was how to determine whether honey is bogus if there is no official standard to measure it against. The FDA did nothing.

Last Nov. 15, senators asked the food safety agency for the same thing. Again, nothing.

On Aug. 10, two members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations tried once more.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and John Hoeven (R-ND) urged the FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to issue the official definition.

Calling the lack of regulations “a food safety concern,” Gillibrand said a national standard of identity for honey is needed “to prevent unscrupulous importers from flooding the market with misbranded honey products…”

An investigator in FDA’s import section explained the agency’s refusal to develop an official definition to FSN. “If we had an official description of honey then FDA would have to inspect everything we’re importing to ensure it’s legal. That’s the last thing we want to do,” he said, but would not allow his name to be used because he wasn’t authorized to make public statements.

How Do You Stop The Illegal Flow?

Gagnon and four other major players in the honey industry have formed a voluntary group called True Source Honey.  They hope it will eventually expand into an international, industry-wide program to certify the origin and quality of honey.

“We need an origin traceability program, a professional audit of both the exporters and the packers so those buying and selling honey can ensure its authenticity and quality,” said Gagnon, who is the group’s vice chairman.

Meanwhile, it’s rumored that the feds are increasing their surveillance of the large U.S. importers and not too soon, Adee and others say.

Adee likens the honey laundering to a huge auto chop shop, where the police occasionally arrest the low-level car thieves but others pop up to continue supplying the criminal operation, which authorities never go after.

“That’s what’s happening here,” Adee explained. “ICE and the other investigators have arrested a handful of the middle men, the brokers who supply the honey packers, but haven’t gone after the big operators buying the phony foreign honey.”

Adee and others interviewed by Food Safety News say there are 12 major honey packers in the U.S. and four or five that are involved with the bulk of illegal trade.

“We know who they are,” he said. “Everyone in the indu
stry knows. If these packers are allowed to continue buying this possibly tainted but clearly illegal smuggled honey, the importers will always find a way to get it to them.”


Editor’s Note:  Andrew Schneider, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, writes for Food Safety News and The Food Watchdog.com

  • Suz

    Well, if they know who these companies are, then they should let everyone know. Maybe if thevpublic becomes more aware of this issue, more pressure will be put on the FDA to actually do something.

  • Mimi

    The names of the companies should be made public to warn the consumer and put pressure on the FDA to take action on this.. There are probably major payoffs going on here at our expense.

  • Doc Mudd

    “An investigator in FDA’s import section explained the agency’s refusal to develop an official definition to FSN. ‘If we had an official description of honey then FDA would have to inspect everything we’re importing to ensure it’s legal. That’s the last thing we want to do,’ he said, but would not allow his name to be used because he wasn’t authorized to make public statements.”
    I dunno, Andrew.
    You can’t name your one and only ‘source’ in the FDA.
    You can’t seem to name any real sources from ICE, FDA or the Justice Department, some of whom you accuse of conspiring with packers to cheat.
    Hell, you can’t even name the “…the largest and most long-established U.S. honey packers…” you accuse of cheating.
    You can’t name anyone of consequence, you can only parrot to us the conspiratorial musings of some guy named Phipps.
    All dark shadowy cloak-and-dagger secrecy in your reporting here (is that Pulitzer quality stuff?). What’s your hurry to rush this story out before confirming any of it…unless none of it can be confirmed and your ‘story’ will deflate in our faces with a rude noise before you can get paid by the word for it?
    Investigative journalism usually requires at least some fundamental verification, even as it is unfolding. Otherwise it’s just rumor and innuendo, the stuff of Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Cristy. And you ain’t neither of those, Andrew.

  • BB

    This is why I buy honey from local beekeepers that don’t use antibiotics and other chemicals.

  • Tess

    Could you at least post the names of a few companies that are not involved in this problem? It would be nice to know who the “safe” companies are when it comes time to buy honey.

  • Elizabeth

    Yeah isn’t this what Wikileaks, et al, is for? It’s much easier for everyone to pretend that it’s not really happening until we have actual names of companies that consumers can boycott.

  • PJ

    Leave it to the FDA to not do their job. They spend their time closing down raw food producers here in the US instead. What a joke. I want the names of those companies. We should be able to put them out there so people can be informed. Since the government isn’t doing its job, as usual…we need to get the info out….just like with GMO tainted food.

  • Doc Mudd

    Aw, hell, just boycot all honey and all products that contain honey and any that might contain honey. That way, you’re sure to get the right ones.
    Just be sure to tell the vendor that Andrew Schneider over at FSN told you honey is unsafe to eat. Credit where credit is due, eh?

  • wary

    hey doc mudd… !@#$ off back to talk radio.
    plenty of useless fulmination over there, you already fit right in.

  • Same here

    What’s the fuss with antibiotics from another country? It’s been known that the U.S. and Canada sells antibiotic-tainted livestock from its farmers.

  • Rebecca

    WOW. J

  • Dr. Mudd
    My day is always richer when you weigh in on almost any topic.
    Thank you.

  • ohsnap


  • Doc Mudd

    You are most welcome. I am flattered.
    Thank you.
    p.s. Too bad about ‘wary’. Oh well, I can’t please all the conspiracy theorists all the time.

  • Max

    In the Land of Reductionist Cultural Impoverishment the One-Eyed Mudd Troll is RICH indeed…

  • Dr. Mudd
    My day is always richer when you weigh in on almost any topic.
    Thank you.

  • Doc Mudd

    Hey, Gilman, decent job of name calling here (heh; “one-eyed mudd troll”, heh, heh!) but why have you gone AWOL from your FarmAid sermon? NOFA isn’t paying you to goldbrick, are they?

  • hp

    We buy our honey directly from a Bio source. Regulations are tight and any misuse means a heavy fine and no longer sales as a Bio product. The producer pointed out he never puts “when filled” on his honey jars because it means nothing. He puts when harvested. Further his combs are also Bio since even if the honey itself is not contaminated, the combs can be. He also pointed out the myth that honey never loses its food value is just. Within a few years its enzymes are no longer available and that is what makes honey so valuable. We have tried Turkish honey in a pinch but it is not the same by a long shot. Common here are French, Canadian and other European country sources.

  • This is why we need a standard of identity in New York State, Bill s3321.
    Sign the online petition.

  • Pom

    Anti Indian Honey propaganda….! Does anyone realize how many beekeepers are involved in India who produce genuine honey ? This is their only source of Income. They will be ruined if US bans Indian honey. Moreover, if US authorities know Little bee is circumnavigating Chinese honey, why don’t they ban the company rather than banning Indian Honey? Little bee exports to more than 40 countries and US is only one of its destination, there is nothing in the article to prove that all of the honey they import is coming to US. What if they are exporting all Chinese honey to other 39 countries other than USA ? These sorts of articles are heavily biased against Indian honey and inconclusive. There is technology and means to analyse adulterated, antibiotic and honey with heavy metals, this should be tested rather crying foul and blaming the whole industry.

  • geogeek

    A terminology disambiguation: Schneider mentions palynology and melissopalynology without clearly indicating the difference: palynology is any scientific study of preserved pollen, and melissopalynology is a subcategory in which the pollen studied is found in honey.

  • ken

    As to not naming names there is no proof. Think about it like this a farmer has one angus steer which weighed 1400#s live, he took it to the butcher and later sold 28,000#s of meat all reported to be from it. Clearly not all of it came from that one steer but proving which did is almost impossible and in the case of honey since they can filter it to remove all identification it’s even harder, since with the steer you could do DNA testing to decide if it’s at least all beef with honey the labs in germany claim to be able to identify rice sugar but there is considerable debate since other reputable labs say it can’t be done.

  • Our politicians/
    Are always willing to trade/
    Safety for money/

    Real Facts about Indian Honey in response to article Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves .FDA has the laws needed to keep adulterated honey off store shelves but does little, honey industry says . written by Andrew Schneider | Aug 15, 2011 for Food Safety News.
    The contents of the story makes an interesting reading wherein an imaginary article of 8 pages have been created with jugglery of words. To illustrate the point, the word Chinese honey/China have been repeated at least 40 times, India /Indian honey -25 times circumvent/transshipped – 2 times, contaminants heavy metals antibiotics –many times believed/ supposed – 5 times.
    Although, we are well aware of experts like Tea Testers and Nose’s in perfumery industry, but it is for the first time that we have come across an expert in food industry, who simply by hearsay and without sampling can identify all contaminants like heavy metals, antibiotics and adulteration in food stuffs including honey and self certified to pass judgment, without verifying even single assumption.
    This is an Anti Indian Honey propaganda….! There is nothing in the article to prove . These sorts of articles are heavily biased against Indian honey and inconclusive. There is technology and means to analyze adulterated, antibiotic and honey with heavy metals, this should be tested rather crying foul and blaming the whole industry.
    Some Facts about Indian Honey-
    1. As per Govt. of India Document, EIC-RMP Honey for EU, National Honey production is about SEVENTY THOUSAND METRIC TONS (70,000MT).
    2. As per other Government of India official records, Honey production in India ranges from 65,000 (National Horticulture Board; http://www.nhb.gov.in) to 100 Thousand Metric Tons/ annum (Agri .Matters, May 22, 2011) while exports are only about 22,000 Metric Tons/ annum (APEDA website) which hardly accounts for 22% of total Indian honey produce.
    3. Weather conditions in Northern States were slightly unusual leading to marginal decrease but not as brought out by so called experts/ news makers. India is just like a “Continent” wherein unusual weather conditions in one part are being compensated by much better conditions in other parts/states. Because of this factual position, India’s Agricultural production is progressing at a rapid pace of about 2.5-4.0%; in spite of adverse weather conditions in one part or other for last many years.
    Of late, current trend world over is to be in NEWS by creating alarming false propaganda, to satisfy their audience/ constituencies/ self-interest, as carried out by FSN recently in its issue, 15th August,,2011 by Horace Message without verifying facts. We are happy to inform that the company is not importing any honey from China and even not a single consignment was ever found to contain Chinese honey/ barred from entering into USA, as claimed by the author and all such allegations are rubbish and entirely baseless. In view, editorial note in FSN citing THAT within the last month 16 shipments – more than 688,000 pounds – of honey went from the Chinese port of Nansha in Guangzhou China to Little Bee Honey in India and then to Los Angeles without verification is against all ethical norms of Investigative journalism and now your news letter should verify and publish the correct position, we are confident of otherwise it would be rumors and innuendo
    4. Little Bee Impex exports in 2008-2009 were 5999.12MT; in 2009-2010 were 7758.28MT (29.32 % growth) while in 2010-2011 it stagnated at 7843.95MT as per Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, (Govt. of India), New Delhi, probably because of your so called weather conditions.
    In view, statement in present communication viz. “Where did Little Bee get the enormous “record breaking” amount of honey that you’ve exported?’ is patently wrong and uncalled for.
    5. Regarding your second query, we request you to forward these analysis reports to us showing Pollen counts and other such details, essential to declare honey as Ultra filtered. Comments by so called experts without any scientific proof do not have any validity. In fact, Little Bee Impex does not have Ultra filtration facility hence answer to such question, you can infer yourself. Following factual position in column-6, will make you more wiser, I am confident.
    6.EU-Indian Honey Study: BAN NOT DUE TO CHINESE HONEY/ANTIBIOTICS: FVO Mission Report-2009 mentions that “Since the 2006 mission (i.e. 1 October 2006 – 27 August 2009) there were no RASFF notifications for residue of veterinary medicinal products in Indian honey” (DG (SANCO) 2009-8190-MR FINAL). However, European Union banned the import of Indian honey because of the Statutory Residue Monitoring Plan problems and not due to any type of failure or admixture with Chinese honey. Further, even not a single shipment was turned down due to the presence of mentioned antibiotics like Nitro furans, Tetracycline, Chloramphenicol, Streptomycin and Benzoic acid prior to ban. Such a white lie again confirms the lack of knowledge on part of the writer.
    Due to uncalled for procedure lapses, The Govt. of India has proactively pursued the ban imposed by European Union on import of Indian honey and in the recent past FVO Training Mission (2010) headed by Mrs. Gurdun Beck of QSI and FVO Mission (2011) from European Union under the leadership of Dr. Graeme Jones have visited India to inspect the Quality control and Regulatory requirements in Indian honey. These two missions have thoroughly checked the traceability of Indian honey right from beekeepers hive to the end of its processing and bottling at LBI for 2 days each & in India for 10 days, both times. The quality standards maintained by Indian honey industry can be verified from the reports of these two missions and DG (SANCO) 2009-8190-MR FINAL.
    7.FDA India Office: It will be worthwhile to mention here that FDA local operational office in India is monitoring all export-import activities with respect to Quality and Govt. Regulations. In view, such malicious observations might have been made with an aim to tarnish India-US Business relations
    8.Government of India Official position: Honey export from India to USA is 100% controlled by Export Inspection Council (EIC) and Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi. As per these regulations “The approved establishment shall ensure that honey meant for export to USA and EU shall be “Wholly Obtained” in India, i.e. the approved establishment shall not blend honey of Indian origin with honey originating from any other countries for export to USA and EU”.
    In view of above & as per elaborated EIC/DGFT protocols, every honey export consignment is dully inspected and accompanied with
    (i) Certificate for Inspection (Q-Certificate) by EIA/EIC
    (ii) Certificate of Analysis by Laboratory/exporter based on lab results and
    (iii) Certificate for Origin (Non Preferential) by Apex Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PB.) (Recognized by Govt. of India) as per US Govt. requirements (Gazette of India Extraordinary Part-II, Section-3, Sub-section (ii); Government of India, New Delhi, Notification No. 66 (RE-2008)/2004-2009 dated 1st December, 2008; Notification No. 26 (RE-2010)/2009-2014 dated 28 February, 2011; Amendment No.3 to Document No. EIC/Honey Ex. Instruction/September, 2008/ Issue-3).

  • Thank you for this article.
    The FDA is a marvelous agency of the US Government that has little time
    to pursue this because they have their hands full dumping gallons
    of raw goat’s milk wanted by little babies and their families.
    The value of that dump was about $70,000 including organic food, plus
    one year undercover work.
    How can we expect the FDA to have time to pursue lost millions when they
    have enough to do with split milk, worth less than $100,000?
    Please, be consider and respectful, and get your priorities straight.
    Why go after Honey, when we can go after the Raw Milk?
    Two different industries perhaps, one that hurts business, raw milk,
    the other, that does not.

  • Tia

    ohsnap beat me to it, but I’ll repeat. . .BUY LOCAL

  • lynnie

    Just buy local honey from our local bee keepers and there wouldn’t be a problem…

  • Leigh

    The bottom line, as always: Support your local FARMER! BUY LOCAL!

  • Yo!! … What about those of us who are allergic to the banned antibiotics etc.
    All of this poison is putting additional stress on the costs of our Health Care!!!
    All of these banned anti-bacs are helping to create resistant bacteria’s.
    There is nothing to gain by postponing investigations and information. Give us the names of the “perpetrators” – their “good will” will go right down the drain as we boycott.
    That sounds like a deterrent to me!

  • austin

    just buy your honey locally from known bee-keepers. that way you won’t have any chance of getting some sub-par product AND if its local you help keep allergies at bay!

  • Here is another reason to get to know your local farmer and buy your honey locally.

  • Re Anti Indian Honey Propaganda
    Transshipment from India is real. The European ban on Indian honey is real. Dramatic increases in honey “production” from India, Vietnam, Malaysia etc are well documented. It is the large transshippers in those countries that are harming the legitimate local beekeepers. There are a lot of American beekeepers who’s only source of income is from honey that are being ruined by transshipped Chinese honey. The article doesn’t exclusively mention India and is completely about your point that their should be testing. FDA is not doing it’s job. But these days no one in the US wants to fund government to enable it to do its job.
    Bottom line – buy local honey and know your local beekeeper. I just extracted 200# on Sunday, 8/14, that I will be happy to sell to anyone who wants real honey from a local beekeeper who uses no pesticides.

  • Summer

    Please understand that honey prices bottom out for the American beekeeper when the supply is flooded with foreign honey (and bad quality at that). YES, we need to import honey. But, it can be done without Chinese honey! It’s the Chinese honey we find fault with, not the Indian honey. But really – aren’t they enabling? And by association, they are devaluing their own product. One bad apple and all that good stuff.
    If testing could be done and ensure quality foreign imports, I would have no problem with that. Good quality honey would demand a higher price no matter where it’s from, raising the prices for everyone, bringing the overall value of honey closer to what it should be. And as for putting good beeks in India out of work – it wouldn’t happen with proven quality product. In fact, testing would IMPROVE things for them, too. They could ask more for their honey, too. The demand for honey in the US isn’t going away – the crap “honey” is just undercutting the entire market and making it easy on the bulk sellers and harder on the beekeepers.
    When a beekeeper runs the numbers, it’s very hard to make a living on just selling honey. Most end up going into pollination contracts to stay afloat because selling honey bulk is just not very profitable. Why isn’t it profitable? Glut in the market with Chinese honey, of course.
    I agree with several other posters – buy local! Check out your local farmer’s market – my guess is you’ll find more than just fabulous honey there, too.

  • Doc Mudd

    Well, this tears it.
    All this whining about prices (which are plenty high enough already!) and lame apologetic double talk from honey peddlers. No more, not until they get themselves sorted out in trustworthy fashion.
    No more honey from any source for my family. We will stick with molasses and Karo syrup. Some granulated sugar. There are plenty of safe, affordable sweeteners without getting screwed over by a bunch of shifty honey hustlers.

  • Disreputable

    The bulk of the contaminated honey is most likely going straight into processed products. Large companies, who have an “industrial” use for honey, are the ones buying up “cheap” honey in mass quantities.
    Yes, buy honey locally, for many reasons that are too complex to bother to go into. It’s healthier and safer for you. And it directly supports your local economy.
    But the problem with this imported honey (that is tainted, toxic, hyper-processed/filtered, and out-right man-made) is that it is going directly into cereals, cookies, granola bars, candy, BBQ sauce, mustard, drinks, syrups, glazes, and all manner of pre-prepared foods with no way for the consumer to evaluate it if they were concerned about the quality, their health, or our economy. Chances are that the honey you are buying off the shelf is relatively safe, that’s not where most of this “bad stuff” is going.
    This is “Big Business”. This is what corporations do best: make a profit, at any cost, no matter the consequences, as long as you make a profit (and not get caught). It’s the corporate dream of deregulation: the global free-market economy, the free market will correct itself, competition fixes these problems, and the rest of the long litany of b.s. that tools spew and perpetuate in total ignorance. Never mind how many must get ill or suffer, or die, before corporations will “do the right thing”. Never mind how many times they have to get in trouble, be fined or investigated, before they start hiding it better. That’s why they have marketing departments and feel-good advertisements.
    We need our government to fund our protective services and regulatory agencies. The FDA can’t do anything about this because they have been so gutted and stripped down over the last 11 years to the point where they are barely able to manage more than to rubber-stamp 99% of what they are supposed to be regulating. We need to take lobbyists out of D.C. and put our real interests first on the national agenda. We need to put FDA standards back to what they were before the Bush era. We need to get lobbyists and industry insiders out of our government regulation. We need to make sure unscrupulous business practices are caught and punished. We need to make sure we are protecting our domestic business interests, our health interests, and our reputation. “Made in America” doesn’t mean squat if it has a “Made in China” underneath. Large corporations, global or domestic, need to be watched closely and regulated; they are not naturally inclined to “do the right thing”, or what is best for anyone else, they are simply driven to make more money, no matter how unreasonable, in whatever circumstances. They will try to make more profits at the expense of their employees, their customers, and even our country (tax evasion on grand levels).
    It might be fairly well illustrated here, but this problem is spread out on many levels throughout our country.

  • Michael Hartman

    Release news like this article, and require country of origin be printed on container. People will decide for themselves, and I would say they would choose to avoid Chinese honey. As to action, it is my opinion that a dollar not spent at the store is worth more than one hundred sent to politicians and bureaucrats. Money talks and the loss of it gets attention where as politicians and bureaucrats get paid regardless.

  • John Jordan

    For the past years, I’ve bought 20 lbs of honey a year from Sam’s Club in Tupelo Mississippi. In 2011 that Sam’s Club switched from their in-store brand to Soiux Bee. “Product of U.S.A. is prominent on the label. The Soiux Bee 5lb bottle is 2 dollars cheaper than the discontinued in-store brand. Before the “Free Trade” scam broke out U.S. produce and manufacturing invented and practiced the gold-standards of production and processing methods. We still can, and will, if We The People can muster the moxie to repudiate and dismantle the Big Government Bureaucracy. We can do it and we must. If we don’t the Bureaucrats will make us their slaves. Check out this video where Louisiana’s Charles “Buddy” Roemer explains what Free Trade versus Fair Trade is all about. It’s a real eye-opener: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/Fundraisingandt

  • ken

    By law you must already declare the source of honey on containers of “pure honey” this is a customs regulation that has been in place for decades. However as noted by Disreputable once foreign honey (or any ingredient) goes into a mixed product like honey bbq sauce or honey bread. That product is now a product of the US. If you look at juice containers you’ll see some with lists of countries of origin that may be ten or more countries long. While they are mixed they are not changed into a different product so they are required to list them. If they use the same juice in a “cocktail” it’s a different product and they are not required to list them. Same rules apply to stuff like shrimp raw shrimp is required to have a country of origin but boxed shrimp alfredo with the same foreign shrimp in it does not. There would of course be a cost in listing all of the countries for mixed products that would ultimately fall back to the consumer in higher food costs

  • J.D.

    True Fact is: Chinese honey is being exported to E.U. every year by 20-30k metric tons. NOT Banned. Why the article lie on facts?
    Local honey only meets around 30% of our nation’s consumption demand. Honey price doubled in past 3 years, but no more honey supply locally. Why?

  • Faith Matsuoka

    One should buy honey locally anyway, if possible, because honey is good for allergies, IF it’s bought locally.
    Sure would like to know what is safe and what isn’t though.

  • hgerhardt

    Wow, our government is so lazy and so corrupt that it’s come down to this. It’s shameful.
    Greed will ruin us.

  • Susan

    Please list the “other major honey sellers” that would not comment on the story so we all know what to avoid for now. Thank you.

  • Ray

    Yes. Please start naming the companies who are marketing this tainted honey. They should not be allowed to operate under cover.

  • Carlen Jupe

    As I understand it, the American Beekeeping Federation made a public comment within the last two years about one of the packers they suspected of this, with the result that the packer sued them. If I remember correctly, the suit was settled out of court with a retraction and an apology, but this demonstrates why the names are not made public: if you don’t have iron-clad proof that will stand up in court, you dare not publicly name names unless you alternatively have millions of dollars and lots of time to fight lawsuits. Now, how would you go about getting such proof, if the FDA is unable or unwilling to do the amount and depth of official testing of imports to determine what is and is not tainted or circumvented?

  • Alex

    It is like any thing else, follow the money and you will find why nothing is being done. Kickbacks and payoffs come in may forms. Our government is a good example of that. Why do you think there are so many lobbyist for the big corporations. Their job is to see who they can pay off or buy, that is how it works.

  • Betty

    I thin it is a good idea to publish the safe brands of Honey, since there are no Honey makers in my area . OUR own government right now is “Lame ” to say the very least and the FDA is too!

  • Peter McGrath

    This article seems like a lot of propoganda. He spends countless paragraphs scare-mongering, and then in the last section, promotes “True Source” as the solution. It reads like a shameless paid-advertisement for this group.
    They must be another industry cartel trying to force business through their own channels. No wonder scare tactics are used

    • Scare tactics to gain advantage?  That’s plain silliness.  This is tainted honey that you don’t want your children or grandchildren to eat.  Stop with the apologetics to corrupt industry.

  • Comments Above;The feds are increasing their surveillance of the large U.S. importers and not too soon, Adee and others say.
    Adee likens the honey laundering.
    When you want proof about Commingling of origin sources, like honey, Then use ScoringAg.com’s traceback database where data collection can not be verified. Every source has to be accounted for including all weights of product used before, during, and after commingling. Location of bee hives and processing sites from field to fork makes sure it’s exactly foreign honey or local honey.

  • Kath

    You can buy LOCAL, but if you eat cereral, cakes, cookies, breads, pop,juices, etc,etc……it most likely will have the BAD imported HONEY in it. So you may feel good about buying local honey, which I DO MYSELF, but it’s all the other food items that can kill you in the end.
    USA lets anything and ANYBODY into it’s country. SAD.

  • Marla


  • Heys here’s a great idea…lets cut the budget for the FDA so they can;t monitor the food that’s imported into the US.
    What we don’t know won’t hurt us.

  • Beki

    Im a Beekeeper here in Texas and Florida..
    lets cut these guys out and support U.S honey!
    -Beki * Bee Happy

    • Todor Atanasov

      Or just import from normal countries with good honey like Bulgaria, Romania. …the honey there is cheap with very good quality!

    • Todor Atanasov

      Or just import from normal countries with good honey like Bulgaria, Romania. …the honey there is cheap with very good quality!

  • Barb

    Aside from the “honey-denial party”, everyone just buy LOCAL and know your sources.

  • mamaset

    It’s pretty simply to me, don’t buy honey from those countries that are selling a tainted product. Aren’t there any other countries that make and sell good honey ? Some honey/bee keepers are proud of their products. We get our honey locally from the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts.
    Local Beekeepers sell their honey at the fair.

  • China Cynic

    Does it escape everyone’s notice that members of the Chinese Communist Party and the hugely corrupt Indian government must be responsible for this massively fraudulent trade?

  • Sowe

    India, China, none of these so-called developing nations can do good business in a safe way. They are renegade and are forcing tainted products onto Americans. I urge people to write their Senators and Congressmen. I write about once a year on the issue.
    Remember we have tainted Chinese heparin, tainted Chinese milk, lead toys, … and on and on and on. The medicine feedstocks from China are being cut as we speak with inferior products and frauds. The COuntry lacks ethics altogether.
    I urge you to stop buying processed foods. These are laundering tainted Chinese foods and forcing them down your throats.

  • Anyone who likes honey needs to read this!

  • Grafton

    Huh. Bitter irony.
    Honey, or rather, inverse sugar solution mislabeled and sold as honey, was one of the things that spurred creation of the Pure Foods Act of 1906, the granddaddy, so to speak, of the FDA.

  • Marina Shoupe

    Support the local beekeepers that are supporting the local bees! Buy the local stuff!!

  • mapache

    Tainted honey was PROVED to be illegally imported from China:

  • Be safe. Buy local.

  • This news is just chilling. Thank you for sharing this under reported issue.
    Looking at all those barrels makes me realize how much honey is consumed. Luckily, most people do not consume honey as a large portion of their diets. This should further encourage people to purchase from local honey producers.
    By doing so, there is a better chance that the bees will be cared for ethically, and one can avoid heavy metal poisoning.

  • Know your farmer and know your beekeeper!

  • Robert Gaudreau

    Want to know the names of the packers who import this kind honey?
    Become member of a beekeeping forum… There is plenty of discussion on this subject.
    (beesource.com) is a good place to start.

  • I don’t know what it is about the Chinese(I am part Chinese myself) but their products seemed to always end up contaminated (I am not saying all of course!)Anyway, why not just buy local products. I’m pretty you’ll find local produce since honey is considered a basic staple.

  • 65 percent

    Just buy local may sound easy.
    However, 65% of the junky product is sold to large manufacturers. The vast majority is not eaten directly by consumers purchasing the product.
    So, it may be in your breakfast cereal, your pastries, your goodies, your savory products, your candy, your BBQ sauce, your salad dressing, your sauce, the food you eat at fast food places, the food you eat at restaurants, and possibly other items you may consume.
    So, don’t eat any prepared food, ever?

  • Hive19

    First of all, great article and discussion. In the UK you can buy 454g of honey for less than $1.8, and I have to ask is the european ban on Chineese honey working. Also some of the honey from Autralia and New Zealand seem very cheap and I fear there might be something going on ther as well.
    There are two alternative answers to the problem
    1) Work with the Chineese and Indians to bring the honey industry up to scratch.
    2) Positively encourage the production of more honey in your own country.
    I keep bees and would prefer to see both. There are numerous obstactle to increasing the number of hives I keep as land owners are reluctant to let beekeepers use their unused land.

  • S Ong

    Another failure on FDA’s part to monitor.

  • Tracy

    I dunno…this smells like China fear mongering. America has polluted our own food supply to the point of no-return. Should We are afraid of Chinese honey because it might have been stored in containers with lead solder or might have antibiotics or might have been been adulterated or… *gasp* is too cheap for American market competition?
    Believe me I already buy farmers Market honey…but I buy farmer’s market everything because the FDA is bought and paid for and US food has been incorporated and trashed.

  • Erich Loewen

    Very interesting,I did not know this. Wow, can I be on your mailing list? I am the Father of 9 and we used to buy our honey by the 50 Galon barrol from a beekeeper (Mennonite) in Kansas but when we ran out about 7 Years ago we bought from those stores you mentioned on this email like Costco, Fred Meyers and we thought they would be honest. We consume Honey because we heard the problem with white table sugar. Now I am trying to find our Mennonite friend in Kansas to get me another Barrol. Thank you so much for getting this info out.

  • david

    I think we can all assume that “SueBee” is one of the companies importing tainted honey. That stuff just tastes like crap.
    Buy local. And I could care less about India’s honey producers. I care about American producers.

  • Jill

    This article is disappointing but not surprising. The only solution is to buy local. While attempting to bring Chinese products into compliance is a very nice thought, it is nothing more than a thought. It takes years to make a single, small change in Chinese laws. Promising changes often prove to be detrimental in practice. Money is at the bottom of all change, and there just isn’t the incentive to change. US Customs is overloaded. Shipment sampling is random. Buying Chinese food or drinks of any type is risky at present. One solution for now: BUY LOCAL.

  • The Old Wolf

    This article was informative and disturbing. I had no idea our honey supply was so badly endangered. What also surprised me was the number of obvious shills for imported and adulterated honey that posted comments here. I don’t see this as Chinese fear-mongering, but rather vigilance. Lax Chinese oversight combined with rampant government corruption at the local and national level equals a rich opportunity for those with fewer scruples to take advantage of a weak spot (read: FDA) in the American import process. If there’s money to be made by being dishonest, the roaches will come swarming out of the woodwork. Look at the incredible shell game these crooked importers and manufacturers are willing to go through, just to keep their income flowing. I add my voice to those calling for full disclosure: I want to know who the compromised packers are, and what companies buy from them. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to buy local and support American beekeepers.

  • Gray Area

    Most of the honey companies in the U.S add or blended with uncertain or unidentified material with the “true honey” no mater how well their name is or how long they’ve been in the honey business. Cause F.D.A and several government also involved in this type of “gray area” to protect “local” honey companies benefit.
    That’s how we buy the honey without any bee polens to “prevent” crystalization “issue” and keep the major honey companies and govenrment most profit.

  • Food Safety Modernization Act 2010 is going to put more pressure on importers to be responsible for the products they import. This is going to raise the cost of food- and will be worth every penny.

  • At Peter: I couldn’t agree more, I prefer to pay a few bucks more and know, that my food is safe. This remembers me of the scandalous baby death due to some milk products in China back in 2010 I think. Unbelievable!

  • Honey lover

    Thank you for this honey information!
    Some more info from http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/09/most-honey-sold-in-u-s-grocery-stores-not-worthy-of-its-name/ :
    • No pollen was found in 76 percent of samples from grocery stores including TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
    • No pollen was found in 100 percent of samples from drugstores including Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy.
    • The anticipated amount of pollen was found in samples bought at farmers markets, co-ops and stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s.

    • Jeff

      We need to know the brand names too since the stores listed carry multiple brands.

  • Another Honey Lover

    I, too, buy only local honey. . . .

  • Sam Arora

    Even Honey at Costco is from India, (Chiness Honey) company called Apis India Ltd. (Apis naturally product) and Little bee are exporter in India, who imports Honey from china into India and than mix with Indian honey to export to USA and Middle East as Indian Honey. Production of Honey in India is not even 25% of what they Export.

  • BossKitty

    If my grocery store cannot prove my honey is not locally produced, I will go without.

  • Richard E. Rae

    I buy local honey or regionally produced honey whenever I do. I’ve been concerned about Asian honey dumping for a couple of years now, and have become leery of the “mass market” honey brands currently thanks to this issue.

  • I firmly believe the time has come to end all trade with china ,which incidently got started during I’m not a crook richard nixons administration,if we were able to get him out of office why in gods name can’t we recend the policies he created ,namely trade with a communist country which oppreses it’s citizens,seems to me we talk the talk of fighting oppression in all these foreign countries except china which we recieve cheap labor for the profit of the 1%,hence no reason to save the oppresed there just the countries in the middle east so we can go take their oil

    • pl1224

      Good idea in theory–but ending trade with China will never happen, Walmart et al would never allow it.

      • Rafaiel Montenegro

        The hell with Wallyworld. They care about the Walton pocketbook and Nobody else on the planet including it’s employees And Customers!!!

  • Thomas Edison was right america should practice isolationism

    • nurseatn

      Little late for that comment. All our big corps are already way past that. They do not have the same feeling anymore about their country. Such a stupid ass distraction a few years ago when people where worried about someone not wearing a flag pin on their lapel. Meanwhile all the big business is set up all over the world. You think they are going to worry about what they feed us if they don’t even supply work anymore for this country? That was the first step.

  • Stay away from all product that are not produced in the U. S.  Don`t buy perishable produce that is out of season, and read all small print on canned and packages foods.     

  • We shouldn’t overlook the initial problem… that we can’t supply our own honey.  That’s what drives this honey laundering requirement.  We need to solve Colony Collapse Disorder, change our tastes so that we need less honey, or allow this to occur.

    • Chrystal S

      We just need to limit who we get the honey from. Canada would be a trusted source and shouldn’t suffer because China is doing what they do with everything else from baby food to toys with lead paint. They have proved time and again to do illegal things and since the surrounding areas (Vietnam, Indonesia, etc) are doing the same thing we should ban at the very least honey coming in from them to!

      Also with the companies that use honey….if you force them to change out the honey they will most likely start putting dangerous artificially made sweetener agents in the food instead. Or buy up all the honey and still put that crap in (since they use 65%). Where would that leave the American people who can’t pay what the companies do for the honey?

      Also if we stop this illegal honey we can have more honey from America. The low prices they sell their illegal honey at drives American beekeepers out of business right now. If they aren’t allowed to sell this crap then people here will be able to compete.

    • Guest

      Don’t create a problem where there is none. If the country of China with its huge population can export mega amounts

  • MYJNY1


  • Super MOM

    Wow!  This is scary stuff.  I once ate pine nuts (that had been imported from China) and experienced a metallic taste in my mouth for over a week.  Made the connection only after doing what any sane person does theses days –  I googled the symptoms and found a blog that had hundreds of similar posts.  Strange thing is that the symptoms  don’t appear until almost 48 hours later and I was the only one in our party that experienced the metallic taste. 

    I no longer eat most imported foods (except from Italy.)   No farm raised shrimp from Thailand, etc…

    • Susan

      over 90% of our seafood comes from southeast Asian seafood farms

  • Curiouser

    Why the picture of chickens in the Facebook link?  Really?  Chickens?

  • Susan

    Demand a cleaning up of the crooked agency called the FDA!!

     They’ve allowed genetically-manipulated poisons into our food, why not tainted honey?  FDA has got former Monsanto employees in its agency – they are there to protect the interests of big agriculture companies, not the public.

    • Guest

      Nice job working in totally irrelevant GMO-phobia / hysteria into a story that has nothing to do with that issue.

      • Susan

        The same companies that gave us GMOs have killed off 70% of bees with the pesticides containing neonicotoids in them. That’s why they people are making fake honey! How is it not relevant?

    • nurseatn

      WE have tied their hands, they do not have enough folks to work it, and they have limited what they can do.

  • Great Story

  • This group can figure out the crime but the FDA can’t, refuses, and won’t fix the problem of possibly deadly foodstuff entering the system.  Greed is expensive.


  • michael staddon

    The best thing Americans can do is find local beekeepers and buy honey from them. Stop buying honey or sweetened stuff from grocery stores, unless the store can put you in touch with the beekeeper that produced it. Visit the beekeepers and find out about all the sweat they go through to keep their bees healthy and make a truly incredible product available to us all.

  • Remove the Trade Barriers and subsitute Health & Safety requirements.  It’s obvious that we must import honey to meet demand, so try rewarding good behavior and punishing bad.  Rather than playing economic protectionist games for the benefit of Sue Bee, that are easily circumvented and for which there is a Huge financial reward.     What you reward, you get more of… pretty simple, common sense reality we seem to “forget” regularly. 

  • Brands! We want to know which BRANDS of foods contain the suspect honey! WHO isn’t telling us where they get their honey from? If they don’t tell us where they get it from then we are better off erring on the side of safety and NOT buying those brands. If I KNOW that the honey I consume IS contaminated and THEN I choose to ingest it then I have assumed the responsibility. I simply WANT to know what is IN my food so that I can make an informed decision. Who knows I MAY decide that the lower price MIGHT be worth the slightly added risk, but I want to have ALL the information so that I can make the decision.

  • Darby Kilmer Rudolph

    The issue isn’t just us choosing to buy honey from local suppliers. The issue is deeper. I mean if manufacturing companies are buying this honey and using it in their products, then that honey could be found in numerous other products that we consume and we may not even know about it. Yikes!

  • Nick

    I agree with Nelson. Just to add I believe that its just another way for “them” to kill us off. Which they do in so many other ways.

  • thief

    Seems like a lot more work to make the fake stuff.

  • What brand labels are they being sold as?

  • HealthyDoodle

    Thx for the info! Super useful! I agree buying products from China especially food is very very dangerous. They make fake eggs, fake rice, etc etc, even their own citizens has to buy canned milk from hong kong ’cause the milk inland is not trust worthy. It’s really sad to seethem not only harm people in other countries but their citizens too. Conscience and moral?

  • Alex

    I.m from Romania, I.m 23 and beekeeping the hell out of me. I have 2 metric tones from this year,mostly accacia and linden tree honey, and no means to sell it. Any suggestions? alex.abramiuc@gmail.com

  • Jason DePrince

    We must stop this and all trade with countries who are crooks. If I can’t even purchase Honey which is true Honey, what is next? If this causes the price to go up well then the market will work itself out, that is how it works. I am tired of politicians being paid off in one way or another which allows this nonsense to go on. When I purchase something just give me the product that it is supposed to be, if not state what it is and let me make my own purchasing decision.
    We must start purchasing goods made in America and get our people back to work!

  • Mr. Anderson

    SO WHICH ONES DO WE HAVE TO “NOT BUY” ?????? I don’t see it anywhere in the article !!!

  • nurseatn

    I wish it was that easy to just say, lets end the trade wit China. It isn’t something congress has control over anymore. I just do not think people understand the power out there that moves all the trade with these countries. It is also India in the game of sending adulterated or toxic stuff to us. Greedy American businessmen will buy and sell to stupid us!! All the removals of the strict FDA laws and all those little guys that used to check on things and not let awful things into feed our people, those guys are long gone. Laws passed in congress to get rid of them, they stood in the way of business! Oh father, forgive them, they did not know what they did!!

  • nurseatn

    They are using false labels. Did you read that?

  • Tennessee Honey

    I solved this problem myself a few years ago by learning how to keep bees through a local beekeeping group. After keeping bees for a few years and knowing the work involved, there’s no way these grocers can offer up their plastic honey bear bottles for as cheap as they do and to have the consistentcy in color they have. Some years my honey is gin clear because of the clover bloom.Honey comes in many different colors, depending on the nectar source. Around here it is locust trees and tuplip poplars along with wild flower. Learn beekeeing – then you won’t be dependent on what the government tells you or doesn’t tell you.

  • jaynez44

    Our FDA needs to get on the ball. The honey and genetically altered products allowed in this country is disgraceful!!!

  • jwl1958

    you can also try a natural health food store

    • Ron Graham

      The honey in the health food stores are usually “dead”. I have interviewed hundreds of the suppliers, they make up their own rules and terms. “Raw” and “Natural” are not federally regulated terms.
      The only ones that are reliable are your beekeeper neighbors who harvest in their garage and take great care to only treat their bees with flower essences, not poisons, pesticides and antibiotics.
      As soon as the volume gets to a grocery store level, the small producer loses control and all have admitted to me that they cannot guarantee their claims.

      • W_R_Monger

        Same thing with beef, chicken, dairy products, and pork. Once it leaves their facilities there are no guarantees and few, if any controls.

  • Sudevi Linda Kramer

    Great article! Timely and informative. What could be more important than what we put in our mouths and on our bodies. Unfortunately, many of our choices at the local supermarket can be hazardous to our health. ~Sudevi

  • Mrs Arby

    Please tell me exactly how you “use” the honey for your allergies. We have terrible seasonal allergies in my family.

    • G

      on toast or in tea, natural honey will aid in allergy relief as the bee pollen is local to the area causing the allergy…so local flowers etc.. it helps with the sinus and aids itchy throat and you can take a spoonful if that’s your preference. It does work, I have allergies and so does my daughter and this does work!!
      Hope that helps.

    • Ron Graham

      Use honey collected a year ago within 50 miles of where you live in the season that you are allergic to. But most beekeepers heat the honey to extract it, and at 112°F, the medicinal value is dead.
      Many local beekeepers use pesticides and antibiotics to control the many pests that attack honey bees
      Small neighborhood beekeepers often are proud of the care they take to use flower essences to control pests and use no heat other than a hot day in the garage to harvest. They can be sometimes found at local farmers markets…but most are lying about their product.
      For learning the hundreds of afflictions that honey has been used over the millennia to control, go to AmericanApitherapySociety.org
      Once a year Doctors (yes, actual medical PHD physicians) host a weekend of seminars and classes, conference on the subject–also covering bee venon treatments and other beehive products for health.

    • W_R_Monger

      Allergies are caused by local pollen and local air pollution so when you buy local honey you obtain immunity to the local flora and the pollen gathered filters the local air pollutants giving you smaller dose acting as a serum in your system. My daughter hadmultiple health issues that her doctor couldn’t pinpoint or nail down as to the cause let alone a cure . I did some reading in some very old books and found this information. After an initial first few rough weeks her immune system balanced out and now she eats locally made honey in her morning cereal and an occasional booster in some warm water with lemon when pressure fronts shift and she hasn’t been sick since. Children in her class fall like leaves during weather and seasonal changes occur but she’s rarely ever ill anymore.
      If you move the process starts all over again… Good luck, I hope this helps

  • Kalu Krishna

    For those who want to get rid of allergies one needs to seriously look at what they are they are eating. Remove all diary products from your diet, as well as canned goods and frozen food. Potatoes, eggplants, peppers are mucous clogging vegetables. Eggs and tea causes mucus. If you want to eat honey it should be eaten alone and not heated up like in a cup of tea. Honey should not be heated above 40 C by adding to a hot drink. The honey digests slowly and the molecules become like glue, this adheres to the mucous membranes and clogs the body’s tissues. These produce toxins. When honey is heated it produces a chemical called hydroxymethyl furfuraldehyde (HMF). The chemical is altered when it is heated. A study was done on rats and found that HMF produced deleterious affects and acted as poison. The honey was heated with ghee (butter). Another study was done that heated honey was fed to bees and they died. I purchase palm sugar and this is all natural with no chemicals, I shave it off and place it a hot drink. Another alternative to use is coconut sugar and that is great also.

  • Olayiwola Lateef

    i just don t knw the reason why you wanted to suspend china from this. im a nigerian and we do appreciate chinese products in our country

  • penny0314

    Some American companies are bald-faced complicit with this. For example, if you ask for honey for your biscuit at Kentucky Fried Chicken, you get “Honey Sauce” which contains a few molecules of honey and lots of high fructose corn syrup.

  • W_R_Monger

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • W_R_Monger

    Problem is that this deadly contaminated honey is used in more everyday foods than can be monitored. “Natural” no sugar or artificial sweeteners added cereals often use honey in place of the standard sweeteners and there in lies the danger.

  • dani

    Maybe I missed it but where are the sources for this information?