Honey laundering

How dangerous is that jar of honey?

January 15, 2009

Gourmet.com readers who keep up with Barry Estabrook’s Politics of the Plate column probably noticed his recent mention of the bizarre details of honey fraud. Estabrook’s source was an extensive, multi-part report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with the witty title “Honey Laundering.” The upshot? As Seattle P-I blogger Andrew Schneider put it:

For those of you who don’t want to wade through the stories, here are the points they make: Most U.S. and Canadian honey is of high quality and safe; [however], the large majority of honey consumed in the U.S. is imported; millions of pounds of Chinese honey destined for the U.S. is transshipped and frequently mislabeled as coming from a different foreign country; some importers and honey packers are in on the con; federal investigators and some large honey importers say they still find Chinese honey tainted with illegal medications; FDA, USDA, and customs agents have far too much on their plates to pay much attention to honey; and only a smallest fraction of honey seeping through our borders is ever tested.

The Ethicurean also had a nice wrap-up of the whole shebang, reminding readers that not only is honey threatened by such apian woes as Colony Collapse Disorder, but that you’d better make sure your honey is locally produced, because “organic” and “U.S. made” are totally meaningless when slapped on jars of honey.

There are 2 comments on this item
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1. by caleb bo baleb on Jan 15, 2009 at 3:30 PM PST

I love the image of “honey seeping through our borders”.

2. by All About Food on Jan 16, 2009 at 6:22 AM PST

Thank you for the informative summary. I’m so lucky to be able to buy local “Minnesota Grown” honey. I’m off to the kitchen, now, for some toast topped with peanut butter and honey.

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