|Beekeeper in Jiyuan City, Henan province|
|Farm workers in Sichuan, China pollinating pear and apple trees by hand|
In 2001 the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a $1.20/lb anti-dumping tariff on imported Chinese honey because American beekeepers were being forced out of business by cheap, heavily subsidized Chinese honey. The Chinese honey was selling for 25 cents/lb while North American beekeepers needed $1.50/lb to break even. To counteract this Chinese honey producers began using ultra-filtering methods to conceal the origin of their honey. Prior to this ultra-filtering was not used by the world's honey manufacturers. Ultra-filtering is a high tech process where the honey is heated, sometimes dilluted and forced at high pressure through micro filters to remove microscopic particles including pollen which is the only way of identifying the origin of the honey.
Bee pollen has been used by many cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks for it's health benefits and therapeutic properties. Bee pollen has a higher density of protein than any animal source and is a concentrated source of b vitamin complex (provides energy). It also contains vitamins A,C,D,E,selenium,lecithin and powerful phytochemicals (carotenoids and bioflavonoids) making it a potent antioxidant (important in cancer prevention). Chinese medicine has recognized bee pollen benefits for thousands of years.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says any product so ultra-filtered to not contain pollen is not honey. The World Health Organization, European Commission and other health organizations state the only way to determine the legitimate and safe source of honey is through the pollen. More than 75% of honey sold in stores in North America was found to have no pollen meaning it was ultra-filtered. The only reason to ultra-filter honey is to hide it's origin.
This ultra-filtered honey is laundered through other Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and now the country of choice, India.
|Chinese laundered honey sold through India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand|
A South Dakota beekeepers' battle against honey laundering.
A senior figure in the Australian Honey industry had his car's brakes tampered with and received death threats after exposing Chinese honey laundering to the U.S. through Australia. A number of arrests have been made of honey launderers in the U.S. and Europe with no effect on the supply of laundered honey.
Honey is used in countless processed foods like cereals, granola and cookies and until governments implement honey standards that include unfiltered pollen and testing for contaminants the only safe place to buy honey is from your local beekeeper.
What can you do? Check out "True Source Honey", a good updated information base for ethically and non ethically produced honey (http://www.truesourcehoney.com/take-action/) or better still buy locally. The best policy always is to buy from your local farmer and beekeeper.
|My honey. Safe and tasty.|