Honey laundering exposed as industry giant admits to mislabeling Chinese honey

Groeb Farms/Screen capture

Colleen has touched on the problem of honey laundering before, explaining how the ultra-filtered, crystal clear "honey" (some people claim it isn't actually honey) is very hard to trace back to its origins once the pollen is filtered out.

Now NPR reports that the nation's biggest honey packer has admitted to buying mislabelled Chinese honey and repackaging it, thus circumventing strict anti-dumping duties imposed by the US government.

But this is about more than just trade rules and anti-dumping duties.

When Chinese consumers stopped buying IKEA meatballs when they learned they were made in China, there was an obvious inference that Chinese-made and Chinese-grown foods face an uphill battle when it comes to consumer confidence. But it was also a reminder that without proper traceability of the food we eat and transparency in how it is processed and transported, it's impossible to ensure food safety or sustainability no matter where a product originates from.

For its part, Groeb Farms put out a statement explaining that it has come to an agreement with the Department of Justice that includes a fine of $2 million and the implementation of a "comprehensive compliance program". Senior executives who the company claims were responsible for the purchasing decisions have also had their contracts terminated.

Which is all to the good. But it does beg the question for us consumers—if all this monitoring, enforcement and regulatory oversight is necessary to keep the multi-national food giants on the straight and narrow, why not just buy from the beekeeper down the road?

Maybe this video was on to something when it accused the food industry of behaving like criminals.

Tags: Agriculture | Bees | China | Corporate Responsibility | Honey | United States