U.S. Honey Processors Charged with ‘Honey Laundering’


| 3/1/2013 12:09:40 PM


Tags: honey laundering, imported honey, anit-dumping, Food Safety News, Food and Drug Administration,

This article was reposted with permission from Food Safety News. 

Five people and two U.S. honey processors were charged with federal crimes last week as a result of an investigation into illegal importation of honey from China, known as “Honeygate,” led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations. The government is alleging that Chinese honey — which can be laced with illegal and unsafe antibiotics — was misdeclared when it was imported to the United States and routed through other countries to evade more than $180 million in anti-dumping duties. 

The government is alleging that Chinese honey — which can be laced with illegal and unsafe antibiotics — was misdeclared when it was imported to the United States and routed through other countries to evade more than $180 million in anti-dumping duties. HSI and Customs and Border Protection said late last week they have stepped up efforts to combat commercial fraud that directly impacts the economy and public health.

The charges come more than a year after an investigation by Food Safety News found that laboratory tests could not detect the origin of more than three quarters of honey purchased at retail locations because ultra-filtration methods remove naturally occurring pollen and make honey impossible to trace. Many in the industry say this practice contributes to honey laundering.

As one honey producer put it: “It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China.”

According to the government, Honey Holding, which was doing business as Honey Solutions of Baytown, Texas and Groeb Farms Inc. of Onsted, Michigan — two of the country’s largest honey suppliers — have entered into deferred prosecution agreements. Honey Holding has agreed to pay $1 million and Groeb Farms has agreed to pay $2 million in fines. Both companies have also agreed to implement corporate compliance programs as part of their respective agreements.


ken terzini
3/3/2013 7:10:02 PM

if the government was cheated out of "millions" of dollars....then why were the penalties for so little......they should be required to pay the duties due and then be fined on top of it......there is no room in this country for crooked capitalists...........




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