Not all honey is created equal. It turns out that one-third or more of all the honey consumed in the United States may be smuggled from China and pose a serious threat to your health. According to a Food Safety News investigation, millions of pounds of honey, banned as unsafe in dozens of countries, is being imported and sold in the U.S.
Toxic Honey Is Being Imported Into The U.S.
Food Safety News reports that some of the largest honey packers in the U.S. are knowingly buying mislabeled and altered honey so they can sell it for a lower price. This honey may contain illegal antibiotics and toxic heavy metals.
Richard Adee is the Washington Legislative Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association. He said, “It’s no secret that the honey smuggling is being driven by money, the desire to save a couple of pennies a pound.” He added, “These big packers are still using imported honey of uncertain safety that they know is illegal because they know their chances of getting caught are slim.”
Food safety investigators in the European Union banned all shipments of honey from India due to the presence of lead and illegal animal antibiotics. They also found that a large amount of honey had been made from artificial sweeteners, then filtered to remove any proof of contaminants.
The FDA inspects very few of the thousands of shipments that arrive in America each year. FDA data shows that between January and June, only 24 shipments were stopped from entering the country. During the same time period, almost 43 million pounds of honey entered the United States. According to the Department of Commerce, 37.7 million pounds of that honey came from India – the same honey that is banned in the EU because it contained lead and animal antibiotics.
Elise Gagnon is the president of Odem International, a worldwide trading house that specializes in bulk raw honey. She said, “There are still millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming in the U.S. and it’s all coming now from India and Vietnam and everybody in the industry knows that.”
Adee commented, “We’re supposed to have the world’s safest food supply but we’re letting in boatloads of this adulterated honey that all these other countries know is contaminated and FDA does nothing.”
How To Choose The Right Honey
Bee pollen is considered to be one of nature’s most nourishing foods. Raw, unfiltered honey contains bee pollen. When honey is ultra-filtered or pasteurized, the bee pollen is removed, taking the health benefits along with it. Many companies add high fructose corn syrup to their honey, which is an important ingredient to watch out for.
The best place to shop for honey is at a local farm or a farmer’s market, where you’re able to see exactly where the honey comes from. If you’re buying honey at a local health food store, look for raw, unfiltered honey.