Know Where Your Honey Comes From

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by UncleJoe, Jan 10, 2011.

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  1. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener

    As crime sagas go, a scheme rigged by a sophisticated cartel of global traders has all the right blockbuster elements: clandestine movements of illegal substances through a network of co-operatives in Asia, a German conglomerate, jet-setting executives, doctored laboratory reports, high-profile takedowns and fearful turncoats.

    Honey has become a staple in the North American diet. Those that do not consume it straight from bear-shaped squeeze bottles eat it regularly whether they know it or not – honey is baked into everything from breakfast cereals to cookies and mixed into sauces and cough drops. Produced by bees from the nectar of flowers and then strained for clarity, honey’s all-natural origin has garnered lofty status among health-conscious consumers who prefer products without refined sweeteners (think white sugar and processed corn syrup). About 1.2 million metric tons of honey is produced worldwide each year.

    What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste.

    None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry.


    The rest of the article can be found here
     
  2. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    Good lord...thanks for the heads up. One good thing about this, at least around here, local grown honey may be a touch more expensive, but it's easy enough to come by. Many of the local chain grocery stores even carry local honey.
     

  3. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

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    My sweetie just brought home a quart...Amish honey...great stuff...he tried another farmer near us last time and I gave it away to a neighbor..:(
    He brings me their milk, jellies, jams, and breads also. Not a lot because of the cost, but the only milk he buys is the Amish.

    Remember, honey's shelf life is indefinite...now to save my nickels and dimes for more of this stuff..:2thumb:
     
  4. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I only buy local honey from a place that is about 12 miles away, but I know that many of his hives are placed all around me and the closest ones were less than a mile down the road. The cost is far cheaper than anything in the local box store around here and it is wonderful.. I buy 1/2 gallon mason jar for $15 and since those mason jars alone are around $2.50(unless you luck out at the yard sale or thrift store) that make the honey only about $12.50 for 1/2 gallon of honey- local at that.
    Other than that honey, I do go to Shipsawanna and buy some Amish buckwheat honey every so often and my mom, who vacations in Florida will swing by the big orange groves there and pick up a few bottles of orange blossom honey with the comb in it for me... says right on the jar that they only bottle and use their own honey from their grove.

    Oh and lately the honey in the dollar stores is half and half with HFcorn syrup. And so is the little packets of honey from KFC.
     
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    actually, it's even WORSE than that, if you look at some of the packaging it says honey <3% :eek:

    KFC can get away with this (in Ohio anyway) because they don't sell the syrup... :rolleyes:

    http://www.bee-quick.com/wall/shame2.html

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  6. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    This article has a good bit of information on why standards should be introduced for honey and a bit about labeling law. Basically, just because the label meets federal guidelines does not mean the product can be legally sold in a State.

    http://www.americanhoneyproducers.org/standards/Nancy Gentry Speech 1-8-2009 Fresno.pdf

    What brought my attention to the imitation honey on the shelf at walmart is simply this Ohio law:

    3715.38 Prohibitions regarding honey.
    No person shall sell, offer, or expose for sale any product that is:

    (A) In the semblance of honey and labeled, advertised, or otherwise represented to be honey if it is not honey;

    (B) In the semblance of honey and contains a label that applies the word “imitation” to the product, regardless of whether it contains any honey;

    (C) In the semblance of honey and is a blend of honey and other ingredients that contains a label with the word “honey,” or any picture, drawing, or other representation implying honey, when such word, picture, drawing, or representation is more prominently displayed than the word “blend” or other word clearly implying the existence of other ingredients.

    Effective Date: 10-31-1975

    Lawriter - ORC - 3715.38 Prohibitions regarding honey.

    Even if this "imitation honey" or "honey syrup" passes FDA labeling laws, it still cannot be sold in the State of Ohio.

    Why?

    1. It is not honey, but label says "Honey" and each product is in either a honey bear or container with a bee on it. This suggests that it is Honey.

    2. The word "Imitation" is on the label.

    3. It is being marketed in the semblance to honey by the color of the syrup, type of container used, and pictures on the product.


    Now the "honey syrup" contains 10% honey. If am understanding things correctly, this product is legal to sell only if it is not sold in the semblance of honey. Meaning, a different container is used and the color is changed to something other than honey colored.

    The "imitation honey" could be sold if it drops the word "honey" from the label and looses the embossed bee on the container. It could just then be sold as "artificial sweetener great for diabetics" or something like that.

    Ohio does have a definition of honey:
    3715.01 Pure food and drug law definitions.

    (12) “Honey” means the nectar and saccharine exudation of plants that has been gathered, modified, and stored in a honeycomb by honeybees.

    Lawriter - ORC - 3715.01 Pure food and drug law definitions.
     
  7. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    My honey comes from a farm about 5 miles from my sister's house. It comes as a big Blob in 5 gal. buckets and is already crystallized. :)
     
  8. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

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    I've started buying only local honey from vendors i know. We are also starting our own bee keeping efforts starting this spring. Ever since i learned that a lot of honey comes from China or is cut with corn syrup, I haven't bought any that I don't know where it comes from.
     
  9. ComputerGuy

    ComputerGuy Retired Air Force

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    WOW. Thanks. Never thought about honey in my preps. But will start collecting local stuff for our LTS
     
  10. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    One great thing about honey that has crystallized--it is so much easier to measure for my baking! I know that some folks don't like it when it does that and then heat it to get it back to liquid form- but it doesn't hurt the honey and if you put a dollop of the crystallized honey on a warm biscuit it just spreads well and melts right in!
     
  11. vn6869

    vn6869 Afraid, very afraid

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    Thanks, woulda never thunk.

    I've been getting my honey from the local farmer's market, now I better start checking the labels too.

    Thanks again.
     
  12. lotsoflead

    lotsoflead Well-Known Member

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    I keep bees myself, but on many store bought honey bottles, you'll see, repackaged in Virgina or some other state, it means that it probably came from China and was bottled here. Sams Club will sometimes have a few pallets of it.
     
  13. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    lotsoflead: How did you get started with the bees? Realistically, how often do you get stung? Every time you mess with them? How often do you have to mess with them?
     
  14. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

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    I get my honey from a good friend who keeps them with his son. I get 2-ish pounds a year in exchange for some homemade wine and soap.
     
  15. Frugal_Farmers

    Frugal_Farmers Good ole country folk

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    We began raising bees this last spring. We started with new hives and they spent the short nectar flow period buiding their comb. Although we didn't produce honey this year we will be in a great position to get plenty this year.

    Beekeeping is simple enough and has many rewards. Our garden really flourished this past year.

    I would recommend anyone interested in beekeeping to find a local beekeeping association. Get a mentor and produce your own honey that way you know exactly what you are producing.

    Bees are cool and so critical to our food supply.

    If anyone needs assistance in finding a local beekeeping association, let me know and I'll see if I can track one down for ya.
     
  16. lotsoflead

    lotsoflead Well-Known Member

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    my father an GD had bees on the farm and I just kept them going, I seldom get stung, maybe a couple times a yr but I alway use smoke and wear a veil when opening a hive, many people don't but i hate to get stung on an eye lid,ear or the lip.
     
  17. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I am totally jealous of bee keepers! I would love to have a hive in the back yard but me being allergic to bee stings would make it a kinda risky hobby! I am around bees all the time while I garden and have not been stung in years, I stepped on the poor thing, but purposely going into a situation where I might get stung makes me leery.
    Hummm..... I wonder if I could get the hubby to do the harvesting for me?
     
  18. Thanks!

    Thanks for the heads-up! I would have never thought about it.

    Side Note = I envision a guy in an overcoat saying "Psst... hey man, wanna' buy some REAL HONEY?"
     
  19. ComputerGuy

    ComputerGuy Retired Air Force

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    Going to have to look at this. Honey, helping the garden, etc
     
  20. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

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    I had heard someplace that honey from China was mixed with corn syrup and god knows what else...then I read the OP and decided to get off my butt and find a local source for honey, found a local beekeeper who sells raw honey for $115.00 for a 5 gal bucket this seems like a good price so I[ll be heading over to visit him soon.. I'm not sure I want to try beekeeping at this point..maybe down the road.. if there is much road left to be down...but 5 gals is a good prep start.. and it does store for ever... as I recall reading they found honey in King Tut's tomb and it was just fine... go figger.. I goggled local beekeepers for this area and found a lot of them....