Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Illegal honey labels in the U.S.

A television station in Grand Rapids, Mich., says its investigations indicate that up to 90 per cent of the honey retailers sell is not what’s claimed on labels.

That included samples it picked up from supermarkets indicating some of the honey was from Canada.

It contained pollen that indicated at least some of the honey came instead from a tropical climate. 

China is speculated to be the source of much of the honey involved in cheating.

One Michigan company, Groeb Farms now operating as Natural American Honey, was fined $2 million after federal investigators found it was honey from China, not from U.S. beekeepers as claimed on the label.

The company says the executives who were responsible for the fraud are gone.

But Dr. Vaughn Bryant who grew up in Holland, Mich., and is now a researcher known as the “honey detective” at Texas A&M university, said about 75 per cent of honey labels are misleading.

A federal government investigator told the television station that he thinks 90 per cent of the labels are wrong.

The issue for beekeepers is that their markets and prices are being undermined by imported honey that is promoted with labels such as “pure clover honey”.

Rod Scarlett of the Honey Council of Canada said there is no similar issue for Canadians because virtually no honey is imported. Canada is a net exporter of honey.