Yes, There Is Something Funny About U.S. Honey

Two of the U.S. largest’s honey processing companies have admitted to illegally buying millions of dollars of cheap honey from China. Like the scandal about incorrectly labeled meat in Europe, the charges against the U.S. honey packs are a case of misleading, if not simply deceptive, labeling of food.

As†Eric Wenger, chairman of†True Source Honey, tells†NPR, “This is a huge deal for the industry. This is the first admission by a U.S. packer, the actual user.”

The Case of the Doctored Honey

The two companies charged are Groeb Farms of Onsted, Michigan,†and Honey Solutions, a large industrial supplier of honey based in Baytown, Texas. Also charged are five individuals including Douglas A. Murphy, the†former director of sales for Honey Holding, which did business under the name of Honey Solutions. Both companies face criminal charges and have already struck deals (including agreeing to setting up programs to ensure all of their honey comes from legitimate producers in the future) to avoid immediate prosecution.

Starting in 2001, honey from China has been subjected to stringent “anti-dumping” duties — a hefty 221 percent of the declared value — after U.S. honey makers raised an outcry over Chinese imports that were being sold at suspiciously low prices. As the recent suit reveals, Chinese producers have sought to work around these fees by shipping their honey to middlemen in other countries including Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam. There, the honey is relabeled as originating from those countries and sent onto the U.S.

Honey imported by Groeb Farms and Honey Solutions was also shipped in containers labeled as other products, such as rice syrup. Even more, some of the honey was found to be adulterated with antibiotics that are not approved for use in honey in the U.S. One drug, Chloramphenicol, is used to treat serious infections in humans but is not approved for use in honey; in 2002, the FDA issued an import alert about it.

Phthalates Found In Readily Available Foods

Another new study reminds us that the ingredients label on a food product does not list “everything” in it. The study reveals that industrial chemicals — phthalates, which have been linked to abnormalities in the male reproductive system — have been found in “common foods” available in the U.S. Specifically, researchers found phthalate contamination in 72 foods commonly consumedby many Americans — pizza, meats and beverages — from supermarkets in Albany, New York.

The phthalates were not added to the foods but may well have gotten into them via the packaging, says lead investigator†Arnold Schecter of the†The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional. That is, not only can packaging misleading about the food inside it. The packaging itself might be causing chemicals to get into the food inside — should whatever materials it is made of also be listed?

If you need a reason to buy local and know what is in the food you will put in your body, look no further than this case of the doctored honey and the discovery of industrial chemicals in supermarket foods. Is it too much to ask food manufacturers to make sure the ingredients listed on a label are actually what is in their products?

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Photo from Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Mike Pattison
Mike Pattison3 years ago

Thanks so much.

Mike Pattison
Mike Pattison3 years ago

Thanks so much.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

V S.
Vidal S4 years ago

Isn't this about people willing to lie ( pure quality honey vs not) in orders to make money? From what I understood, these people are still in business...

Amy L.
Amy L4 years ago

If "honey" is coming from China - its probably safe to assume its not real honey.

Diane L.
Diane L4 years ago

"People should go to the PETA site and see animals skinned alive in front of crates where the others are to be killed the same way"...........Patty, PETA's site is the last place anyone should go to for FACTS, and animals being skinned alive really has nothing to do with this topic, or with honey, period. . "the dogs and cats they kill is probably made into "steaks" or meat balls destined for the USA."..........I suppose if you follow PETA, you may believe this, but then if that's the case, I have this cool bridge in my backyard for sale, so feel free to stop by and make a bid on it. "The "affable guy..Clinton was horrible with lowering tariffs to make a ONE world."............NAFTA was put in place long before Clinton was elected. Jimmy Carter actually made some of the proposals, which Reagan enacted.

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke4 years ago

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO to the big corporations! SHAME ON YOU! Can't trust any food items coming out of China and now I learn they are buying HONEY from China! Not buying commercial anymore....only local farm honey. SHAME ON BIG CORPORATIONS!

Deborah Litster
Deborah Litster4 years ago

do they have to wreck every thing honey is aperfect food

Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

If you live in an urban area where local honey is not an option, health food stores usually carry honey from a nearby more rural area. It probably costs a little more but honey usually lasts a while and it's worth it to know what you are getting. Raw honey is even better