Imported Honey Likely Fake

Angry Honey BeeOne of the most charming things I’ve ever heard about Prince Charles is his interest in the local food movement. I haven’t thought much of it myself. In general, as long as my food doesn’t have a bunch of pesticides in it, I’m pretty happy. But a lot of recent reporting about food has made me wonder. Maybe it would be best if I knew where my food was coming from.

Last month, there was all the reporting that indicated that fish sold in markets was as likely as not to be mislabeled. That didn’t freak me out all that much because other than shrimp, I don’t much like seafood. But then, last week, Andrea sent me an article from Buzz Feed, 11 Horrifying Facts About Your Fresh Groceries. Many of these too were about seafood—but not all. And one that was, bothered me quite a lot, “Shrimp and tilapia are often fed untreated animal feces in China, Thailand, and Vietnam.” Maybe it’s time to find a local supply of shellfish.

“A quarter of U.S. raw meats test positive for flesh-eating MRSA bacteria.” Well, you know what they say about that which doesn’t kill you: it makes you weaker so that you are easier to kill next time. “Apples, celery, and bell peppers are the most pesticide-contaminated produce.” Well, I don’t really like apples. And I’ll squint when I’m working with celery and bell peppers. Bqhatevwr! “Chickens are fed arsenic to make their flesh pink.” Well, all the better to kill you with, my deary!

“Most of the honey you buy isn’t real.” Now hold on right there. Them’s fightin’ words! Most honey I buy isn’t real?! I suppose that’s especially true of the “honey” that comes in those cute plastic bear containers. Damn it!

According to an article in Mother Nature Network, ‘Honey Laundering’ an International Scandal. Here’s what’s going on:

Food-safety experts have found that much of the honey sold in the United States isn’t actually honey, but a concoction of corn or rice syrup, malt sweeteners or “jiggery” (cheap, unrefined sugar), plus a small amount of genuine honey…

The honey is not just fake; it is also poisonous. It “has been found to contain toxins like lead and other heavy metals, as well as drugs like chloramphenicol, an antibiotic, according to a Department of Justice news release.” Fun times!

Most of this honey is coming from China. But because of heightened duty charges, Chinese manufacturers are shipping the honey to other countries and relabeling it as though it were from there. And that gets us to what we should generally be doing a lot more of: buying locally. You could just buy honey that is “Made in the USA” but I’m not sure that would necessarily solve the problem. The thing to do is to find the local beekeepers and buy your honey from them.

I don’t expect my hot dogs to be pure (not that I’m sure what that even means). But at least we can have real and safe honey.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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