Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

What a sticky situation
January 6, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Something that I am still trying to get my head around - Honey Laundering is big business in the black market.

Combined with the decline of bees in North America is this the next growth area for organized crime? If you want to make sure your Honey is from ethical sources there is the True Source Honey Initiative to help you out.
posted by troll on a pony (44 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
First you get the honey...
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:08 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Or if your quite North East, maple.
posted by Mblue at 8:09 PM on January 6, 2011


The police will shut this down with a sting operation.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:12 PM on January 6, 2011 [26 favorites]


Color me just a little bit skeptical about that True Source Honey site. Seems like enforcement of rent-seeking from honey manufacturers more than anything else.

But some honey brokers and importers illegally circumvent tariffs and quality controls, selling honey to U.S. companies that is of questionable origin. This threatens the U.S. honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey's reputation for quality and safety.
posted by ripley_ at 8:16 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, learned about this when I was sourcing bulk honey for a batch of mead. Sure it's obscure now; wait for a few more years of colony collapse disorder and honey's gonna be worth its weight in cocaine :(
posted by jtron at 8:20 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those guys should bee-hive themselves.
posted by gomichild at 8:20 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who wants honey
As long as there's some money
Who wants that honey?

posted by empath at 8:21 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


As we live in Hong Kong I usually buy honey imported from Australia or New Zealand, where I feel reasonably sure production standards are safe.
posted by bwg at 8:22 PM on January 6, 2011


Okay, I'll say it: those Chinese honey launderers are busy little bees, aren't they?
posted by bwg at 8:23 PM on January 6, 2011


We've seen honey laundering before, incidentally. Also, briefly, terrorist honey.
posted by nanojath at 8:24 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, some further study on how to parse tags might be... useful.
posted by nanojath at 8:26 PM on January 6, 2011


Beesus Christ, what is this, reddit?
posted by nasreddin at 8:28 PM on January 6, 2011


Excellent use of the honeyhoneylaunderingbeesstickyfingers tag.
posted by odinsdream at 8:30 PM on January 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


Moar pics of feet please.



shit this isn't actually reddit is it
posted by Ad hominem at 8:32 PM on January 6, 2011


"Color me just a little bit skeptical about that True Source Honey site. Seems like enforcement of rent-seeking from honey manufacturers more than anything else.

But some honey brokers and importers illegally circumvent tariffs and quality controls, selling honey to U.S. companies that is of questionable origin. This threatens the U.S. honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey's reputation for quality and safety."

The article mentions the antibiotics that the FDA doesn't think are safe and the cutting of the honey with corn syrup, I don't think it's just rent-seeking.
posted by EtzHadaat at 8:35 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think they wrote this story so they could say "honey laundering".
posted by jeremy b at 8:37 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read somewhere that you can tell counterfeit or adulterated honey by exposing it to an open flame. If it burns, it's honey; if it boils, it's adulterated. Can anyone verify that?

Separately, how do we know the the "True Source" folks aren't merely capitalizing on fears of counterfeiting for their own marketing purposes (or at least have mixed motivations)? I'll keep buying from my local apiculturist.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:38 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Money quote (honey quote?) to close the article: "We have become accustomed to getting whatever we want whenever we want it, and there will always be someone out there keen to pander to this.”
posted by ZakDaddy at 8:54 PM on January 6, 2011


But American beekeepers, already suffering from a bee death epidemic that is killing off a third of their colonies a year, say the flow of suspect imports has not let up.


China, the world’s largest producer of honey, would seem a natural candidate to fill the gap. But Chinese honey is notorious for containing the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol, used by farmers to keep bees from falling ill.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:57 PM on January 6, 2011


What about all the other types of laundering and fraud? Certainly bunny laundering, AKA the smuggling of exotic rabbit species, and funny laundering, AKA the black market trade of stolen jokes to hard-up stand-up comedians, are just as big a business. Gunny laundering? (also known as the arms trade) Cunny laundering? (forced prostitution in the Commonwealth) Tunny laundering? (for seafood lovers in oppressive regimes) These are real problems but they'll never get any press while nonsense like this is soaking up editors' precious "rhymes with money laundering" collumn-inches.

I could go on and on (if I could think of any more words that rhyme with money)...
posted by LiteOpera at 8:58 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, so many pun possibilities. The hontouchables! A hive of villany! This is a buzz-t! Freeze, I'm a dehexta... pod... tective. Okay, maybe scratch that last one.
posted by No-sword at 9:05 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


...clearly there's an excess of punny laundering in this thread.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:19 PM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bees Louise! What'll they think of next?
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:33 PM on January 6, 2011


smoke them out
posted by clavdivs at 9:38 PM on January 6, 2011


There's only one private detective who can take the case...
posted by gimonca at 9:53 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: shit this isn't actually reddit is it
posted by Space Coyote at 10:07 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sweet post.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I buy my honey from the local farmers market, from people that run their own hives. A bit pricier than the grocery store, yes, but good quality stuff. There's the folks that run their hives out near Arivaca, where the bees feed on desert wildflowers and mesquite. I also buy from Bee Chama Honey when they're in town, or if I'm in central NM. Their carrot and their berry honeys are fantastic, and the different flavors they have from different crops is a far cry better than any store bought honey. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend them.

Big plus - you're not participating in honey laundering. So no bzzzkill.
posted by azpenguin at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I used to make mead too and did my level best not to buy honey from China. It has gotten quite hard to be sure where honey is from. It makes me really angry that someone always has to mess with our food.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:51 PM on January 6, 2011


This isn't punny. We're talking about my honey here!


posted by From Bklyn at 11:39 PM on January 6, 2011


Nunny laundering - Robbie Coltrane dressed as a Bride of Christ.
posted by mippy at 3:15 AM on January 7, 2011


All the more reason to patronize my local honey producers.
posted by caddis at 3:50 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got a relative in the honey distribution business. We are in New Zealand and he distributes UMF Manuka honey to international markets including Asia. Manuka honey is big, serious bucks. Part of his job (there's probably a technical description for this) was to travel to countries, go shopping to pick up the New Zealand honey products, bring 'em back home and get them tested for authenticity. The labeling on the imitation honey pots is so good, you can't tell the difference without lab testing.

I didn't figure the honey market as being so rough. He said on a previous visit to Hong Kong, he landed and hadn't worked out where his accommodation was yet, but the Asian distributor he was meeting with knew exactly where he was staying and kept tabs on him. Unnerving.
posted by Enki at 4:13 AM on January 7, 2011


Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey

posted by Lanark at 4:23 AM on January 7, 2011


As we live in Hong Kong I usually buy honey that states it is imported from Australia or New Zealand, where I feel reasonably sure production standards are safe.

You know they even counterfeit cars in China right?

All the more reason to patronize my local honey producers.

Aw, aren't you a sweet wittle honey producer? Who's a good honey producer? You are! Yes you are!*

*Sorry, every time I read the word "patronise" I think of this definition. Similarly, you can imagine my thoughts whenever the Metro announcer says that a train will "service [my] platform momentarily."

Regarding colony collapse; am I the only one that thinks it might be time to stop trying to kill off our native American pollinators like sweat or carpenter bees? Sure, the honey industry is taking a huge hit, but maybe saving North American agriculture is more important?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:09 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you need mass quantities of honey for making mead I've found there's really nothing to beat making a personal relationship with a local beekeeper. You know the quality of the stuff, and the producer generally appreciates an occasional bottle in return. I've found that I get weird off flavors when I just use the stuff labeled "Honey" from the store.
posted by Runes at 6:17 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


that shit will really gum up your maytag.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:28 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having just moved to SE Asia from America, this is just another thing I am having a hard time wrapping my head around. It's a weird, wide, wonderful world, ain't it?
posted by the_royal_we at 7:25 AM on January 7, 2011


I'm with Pretty Tony (@ :37 sec) on this one.
posted by KillaSeal at 11:20 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, @ :34 seconds.
posted by KillaSeal at 11:21 AM on January 7, 2011


I'm with Pretty Tony

One of the suggested videos reminds me of a college story which I will take a slight derail to share. I had a geology professor who was extremely cool. On one of our lab quizes we were asked to identify a sample of a sedimentary magnesium carbonite rock. One of my friends got bonus points from the teacher when he wrote: dolomite motherfucker!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:56 PM on January 7, 2011


Wow, chloramphenicol? According to an ex-supervisor (MD), we stopped using chloramphenicol to treat humans because it ended up causing aplastic anemia.

It's a great selective antibiotic in the lab, though.
posted by porpoise at 2:07 PM on January 7, 2011


It causes aplastic anemia in about 1 in 25,000 people. I don't want honey that kills 1 out of every 25,000 people who try it. I would also prefer to have honey that doesn't come from the Randian economic environment of Chinese food production.
posted by Megafly at 9:36 PM on January 7, 2011


Really? You're completely happy with the Randian economic environment in the US?

(I know both of these statements are equally idiotic, it's just that you don't hear the Chinese running around screaming "Socialism!" every time there's a tax proposal they don't understand.)
posted by sneebler at 8:17 PM on January 8, 2011


« Older The French government today said it was the victim...  |  Global spam email levels sudde... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments