We’ve been hearing about this despicable practice for some time, now. And pledges have been made by governments and regulators to stop it. But it seems little has really been done to stop the massive, illegal importation and sale of substandard foreign Honey in North America. The question is, why?
We’ve talked, in this space, about the massive fraud in the Italian Olive Oil industry. It’s a major issue and it won’t go away.
And it turns out that the Honey industry has a similar problem. An organization called Bee Local brings together local and artisanal North American Honey producers in various regions round the continent to promote the sale of pure, chemical-free local Honey. Why the push to stress purity and localness? Because, in spite of high tarrifs and other measures, millions of pounds / kg of Asian honey is coming into North America every year and it’s being misrepresented on supermarket package labels.
It’s called ‘Honey laundering’…
The process is called ‘Honey laundering’, and involves mainly Chinese Honey being transshipped through other countries where it is re-labeled before entering the U.S. and Canada. The problem is, Asian Honey often contains chemicals which are used there routinely on crops there but are illegal in the West. There is also widespread, outright fraud, involving the dilution of pure Honey with other, cheaper sweeteners such as Corn Syrup, or label it as something else, such as Rice Syrup, so it can be sold cheaper. Or bring a higher profit for the seller.
In answer to persistent questions about the origin and purity of Honey, an organization called True Source Honey has been established to monitor and certify that Honey comes fro where the label says it does and that it’s chemical-free.
How do consumers know what not to buy?
About the only way to be sure you’re getting real, pure 100 per cent chemical-free honey is to buy locally-produced artisanal honey. It costs somewhat more than commercial, supermarket Honey, but at least you know what you’re getting!
~ Maggie J.