Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Check Your Honey, URGENT Need To Buy Locally

There have been reports lately from organizations that the United States has a honey smuggling problem, in some cases it's even referred to as honey laundering. What a crazy thought, smuggling honey into the United States? The honey at the center of this debate is stemming from Asia, in particular China and India. Asian honey is banned in the European Union and we need to stay abreast with EU bans because they actually enact laws that protect citizens over corporations.

Problems With The Smuggled Honey?

Apparently the FDA is turning their backs on the majority of honey that is entering the United States. Approximately 200 million pounds of honey was imported to the US in the last 18 months, but only 50 million pounds of that was reported to be from trusted sources from Canada to South America. So where is the other 150 million pounds coming from? Asia. 

A decade ago a bacterial infection (Foulbrood Disease) swept through China's bee colonies, killing millions of their bees. It was treated with animal grade antibiotics from India, in particular one called chloramphenicol which has been directly linked to gene damage in children and is considered carcinogenic. Chloramphenicol is banned in the presence of food in the United States. 

The second major issue is the presence of heavy metals in the honey. Unable to keep up with the demand to produce honey, honey is often purchased by larger processors from smaller honey producers that use LEAD soldered drums to collect and store honey. Heavy metals being present in honey is a huge problem because they are very hard for our body to get rid of and often collect in our organs. 

There have been specific cases of honey magically appearing in large quantities by India's top honey producer during a time when they reported their production would be down 40%, leading to believe the honey is coming in from China. It's also important to note the United States has a tariff on honey  from China (to protect US Beekeepers), therefore exporting it through India allows them to bypass the tariff. 

The last problem with "honey" from Asia is the discoveries in prior shipments entering the United States of what is actually in the drums of honey is a concoction of things such as sugar waters, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, which often times are thickened or colored with chemicals. It is known that in places like Germany honey or honey like substances can be easily tested and traced back to the flower pollen of origin. Of course in the US, we have one person that does such testing and he is a forensic anthropologist. Awesome, America! 

To further prove the problems with transshipped honey entering the United States, an organization has been formed called True Source Honey, which provides resources for companies and consumers to find Ethically Sourced and safe honey. 

Americans consume 400 million pounds of honey per year. 35% of the honey is consumed in homes and the other 65% is purchased by food industries. Everyone can do their part to make sure the honey you are reaching for is locally sourced. In our grocery store right next to a "National Brand" is a local brand. One that guarantees it's source and the brand I always reach for. They even offer a few varieties in the types of honey they sell, wildflower, clover, etc.

Stop and take a moment, double check the label on your brand and seek out a local alternative if possible. Clearly the FDA has a hard time protecting us, we truly need to protect ourselves.


  1. Now my Honey is being compromised?

  2. We have a feat u-pick cherry orchard that also sells honey. My kids love it far more than any store brand. I had no idea about honey laundering, but now I'm grateful for our little farm stand honey.

  3. Thanks for the info. scary stuff.


I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!