Reproduction Permission Granted with 1) full attribution to Daryll E. Ray and the Honey that's not so sweet
2) Copy of reproduction sent to Information Specialist, More and more of the food offered for sale in the US is produced elsewhere and shipped into the coun- As Schneider tells the story, the US consumes try. Typical is a package of whole yellow and green about 450 million pounds of honey but produces only beans that we saw in a local grocery store in late about 190 million pounds. The balance has to be im- December. On the back of the package were the words Schneider writes, "U.S. Immigration and Cus- Until recently we gave little thought to the origin toms Enforcement began closely watching honey of our food because most of it was produced in the shipments eight years ago. That's when the Com- US and subject to national regulations on the use of merce Department's International Trade Commission pesticides and the timing between the last pesticide bowed to pleas from American honey producers and leveled anti-dumping fees on Argentine and Chinese Perhaps naively, we assumed that food products honey being sold for far less than what domestic pro- coming into the US were subject to inspections to assure that the products did not contain pesticide resi- "Today, Argentine honey entering this country is due levels above those required of US producers or taxed an additional 2.2 cents a pound. The tariff on evidence of pesticides that are banned for use in the Chinese honey is much stiffer at $1.20 a pound, and US. Deep in our hearts we wanted to believe that even though we suspected that the opposite was true.
But the undercutting of price is only part of the Not long ago there was a rash of dead pets poi- soned by melamine that was introduced into the pet Schneider says that "for years, China has used food as a part of one of the ingredients-wheat gluten.
an animal antibiotic-chloramphenicol-to treat diseases The wheat gluten was imported into the US from China ravaging their beehives. The FDA has banned that where it was deliberately tainted with melamine to give the false appearance of having a higher protein "Since 2002, FDA has issued three 'import alerts' to inspectors at ports and border crossings to detain We have come to learn that a very small percent- age of foodstuffs imported into the US is inspected at "The order in 2002 came after Canadian and Eu- portside. It appears that the unstated assumption of ropean food-safety agents seized more than 80 ship- the US food system is that product purity is the re- ments containing chloramphenicol, which can cause sponsibility of the importer and the end user. That serious illness or death among a very small percent- assumption did little to protect affected animals.
Earlier we had read about antifreeze, a poison, "In March 2007, U.S. officials revised the alert that was substituted for the more expensive glycerin when Florida food detectives found two other antibi- that is used as a sweetener in a wide variety of prod- otics-iprofloxacin and Enrofloxacin-in honey and ucts from cough medicine to toothpaste. And more blends of honey syrup that originated from China." recently we read about melamine that was used to Undeterred, "big shipments of contaminated boost the protein tests of milk that was feed to babies honey from China are frequently laundered in other in China and used in milk chocolates that were sold countries-an illegal practice called 'transshipping'-in order to avoid U.S. import fees, protective tariffs or We began to think that we had heard it all and taxes imposed on foreign products that intentionally then we read an article in the "Seattle Post- Intelligencer." Under the byline of Andrew Schneider, Honey produced in China is shipped to another it was titled "Honey Laundering: A sticky trail of in- country like Vietnam, India, Russia, Malaysia, and trigue and crime; Country of origin no guarantee on Taiwan where it is marked as a product of that coun- cheap imports" http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/ try and then shipped into the US at low or no tariff.
Other countries the article identified as suspected of The story the article tells is both intriguing and involvement in the transshipment of Chinese honey disturbing. While country of origin labeling has been are Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, required for honey since July 2, 1984, a significantportion of the honey for sale in the US may be im- Cont. on p. 2
Honey that's not so sweet
Cont. from p. 1
to the public or via retail stores. Also, there appar-ently is no reason to be especially concerned if honey Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
originates in whole or part from countries that do not Despite assertions by Customs officials, Schneider participate in the transshipping of Chinese honey, for reports that very few shipments of honey are in- example Canada, Mexico, and Argentina.
As an unnamed Customs Inspector tells Schneider, Daryll E. Ray holds the Blasingame Chair of Excel- "'Someday, some really harmful honey will be shipped lence in Agricultural Policy, Institute of Agriculture, into this country, and a lot of people will get sick or University of Tennessee, and is the Director of UT’s worse-and then the government will do something Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). (865) about it,' he said. 'We shouldn't have to wait for people 974-7407; Fax: (865) 974-7298; [email protected]; http://www.agpolicy.org. Daryll Ray’s column is writ- It should be pointed out that "safe" honey is in- ten with the research and assistance of Harwood D. Schaffer, Research Associate with APAC. Numerous US honey producers sell honey directly

Source: http://agpolicy.org/weekpdf/441.pdf


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