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Shark Idle Science

Laser Intended For Mars Used To Detect "Honey Laundering" 387

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-your-bees-and-clues dept.
A laser tool funded by the European Space Agency to measure carbon on Mars is now being used to help detect fake honey. By burning a few milligrams of honey the laser isotope ratio-meter can help determine its composition and origin. From the article: "According to a Food Safety News investigation, more than a third of honey consumed in the U.S. has been smuggled from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. To make matters worse, some honey brokers create counterfeit honey using a small amount of real honey, bulked up with sugar, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery (a type of unrefined sugar) and other additives—known as honey laundering. This honey is often mislabeled and sold on as legitimate, unadulterated honey in places such as Europe and the U.S."
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Laser Intended For Mars Used To Detect "Honey Laundering"

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  • Buy local honey (Score:5, Informative)

    by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:03AM (#42932485)
    Most places in the US have a small local honey industry. Support it.
    • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gregor-e (136142) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:13AM (#42932527) Homepage
      That's great and all, but in my experience, small local one-jar-at-a-time-by-hand producers charge about twice as much as the grocery store does. I can't believe that all the honey in the grocery store is fake. Or that the local producer's honey is really twice as good.
      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Abstrackt (609015) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:16AM (#42932543)

        I just make mead for my local apiary and get honey by the bucket in exchange. That obviously won't work for everybody but it's worth a shot if you're feeling adventurous.

      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eksith (2776419) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:17AM (#42932545) Homepage
        Don't know about your local market, but in our market, yes, it is twice as good... and then some. Plus if you're talking about produce, it hasn't been on a truck half way across the country before getting to the display shelf, so you can be sure it's fresh. You do taste a difference.
        • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

          by StormShaman (603879) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:38AM (#42932641)

          Fresh? I thought honey lasted for years. It certainly has to in my house; I don't use it very fast.

          • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:53AM (#42932715) Journal

            Honey is one of the few foods to have a shelf life [shelflifeadvice.com] that approaches the half-life of uranium. There's honey dug up out of ancient Egyptian tombs that is/was still considered edible.

            OTOH, the taste apparently degrades with time, which may explain GP's assertion.

          • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Informative)

            by Myopic (18616) * on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:56AM (#42932723)

            The shelf life of honey is measured in centuries. Freshness is a canard. There may be good reasons to buy local honey, but that isn't one of them.

          • by cffrost (885375)

            Fresh? I thought honey lasted for years. It certainly has to in my house; I don't use it very fast.

            Yes, but eksith said, "Plus if you're talking about produce, [...] you can be sure it's fresh."

          • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:41AM (#42932903)

            Much like the $100 audio cables, even as a person who really likes honey, i can't tell the difference. I certainly can tell between "honey flavored syrup" sold in the grocery store and actual honey, but for real honey it all tastes about the same to me. Same with syrup. I like to spring for actual maple syrup but beyond it just being real maple syrup the various brands don't taste any different.

            Dunno. Maybe my pallet just isn't refined. I can't tell the difference between an "organic" vegetable and the regular ones from the grocery store either.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:18AM (#42933027)

              Maybe my pallet just isn't refined.

              If you bring in honey by the pallet, it's no wonder your palate has no sensitivity. Maybe you should cut down, so you can experience the whole palette of flavours that nature intended.

            • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

              by retchdog (1319261) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:30AM (#42933219) Journal

              The varieties of honey (determined by the predominant flora which the bees gather pollen from) have noticeable differences. Some are subtle; orange blossom honey does taste a little bit like oranges. Tupelo honey costs 2-3x as much and is considered the superior honey, but honestly I can't tell the difference between it and clover. However, I've gotta say any honey labeled as a specific variety is manyfold better than the stuff in the plastic bear. So what if it costs more? A jar of honey lasts me a year. I'll optimize somewhere else.

              Now buckwheat honey, if you have a chance to try it, is almost nothing like `normal' honey; you might hate it, but it's worth trying. It is extremely dark and has an odd almost savory/umami taste. It's a bit weird on its own, but if you mix it with an acid (I use apple cider vinegar) and deglaze a steak pan, you get an amazing sauce... it's hard to believe it's only two ingredients (plus the fond and drippings from the steak of course).

              • by sFurbo (1361249)
                Apple cider vinegar mixed with any honey is a great basis for marinading meat. I will have to try and get some buckwheat honey, you make it sound amazing.

                OMG, first result from googling the Danish phrase was a honey store with 40 different kinds of single flower honey. I HAVE to try coffee honey.
                • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Informative)

                  by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:43AM (#42933827)

                  I HAVE to try coffee honey.

                  That sounds interesting, but the coffee honey is likely to taste of coffee blossoms, not roasted coffee seeds. You may not get the flavor you're hoping for.

                  • by sFurbo (1361249)
                    The homepage describes it as having "a light coffee flavor", but now that you mention it, that is highly implausible. Most of the aroma compounds in coffee is a result of the roasting, so how in the world should a product of the flowers get that taste? Oh, well, I still have to try it.
                  • by mcgrew (92797) *

                    A lot of people like their coffee sweet, and many of them put honey in their coffee. It seems to me that coffee honey in coffee would be damned good, if you like sweet coffee (I don't).

              • Re:Buy local honey (Score:4, Informative)

                by osvenskan (1446645) on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:54AM (#42934263)

                Tupelo honey costs 2-3x as much and is considered the superior honey, but honestly I can't tell the difference between it and clover.

                Tupelo honey is more valuable to me because it's much less prone to crystallize (due to the sugars in it). Clover honey seems to crystallize if you do so much as look at it funny.

              • Re:Buy local honey (Score:4, Informative)

                by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Monday February 18, 2013 @10:18AM (#42934867)

                We keep about 20 hives of bees and I grow buckwheat on a portion of my garden each year specifically for the bees. That honey is darker and more flavorful than any I've ever encountered elsewhere.

                The local apiary group hosts a honey tasting event each year; the range of colors and flavors in the local area is amazing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Barsteward (969998)
              "I can't tell the difference between an "organic" vegetable and the regular ones from the grocery store either."

              there isn't much difference in taste, it just means it has been produced without chemicals so its more natural
          • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

            by paiute (550198) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:48AM (#42932933)

            Fresh? I thought honey lasted for years.

            It does. That's why the honey you buy at the Stop & Shop could have been sitting in a tank in China for several years.

          • Fresh? I thought honey lasted for years.

            The honey may last for years; it's likely however that there are delicate flavors that get lost as it ages.

            Bread may last for a few weeks, but when it's fresh, it seems to taste better (or at least different, if we're not going to make assumptions about flavor preference).

        • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ridgecritter (934252) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:26AM (#42932855)

          Agreed. Our local hardware store sells honey from local producers. Variety varies depending on what's in bloom and it's minimally processed, which I think is why it tastes so much better than the stuff in major grocery stores. The price is lots higher and I buy less of it than I might if I were buying at Safeway, but I enjoy it much more and I'm glad to support the local beekeepers. It's nice to drive by the hives where the honey came from on my way home.

      • Buying local (Score:2, Insightful)

        by davidwr (791652)

        When you buy local, it tends to have a greater economic impact on your local economy than if you buy from outside your local area.

        This information is useful to people who give a greater or lesser "moral weight" to supporting their local economy vs. their regional economy vs. their domestic economy vs. the world economy. Those who more strongly favor firing the economic engines of 3rd world countries than they do their domestic, regional, or local economic engine will use this information and say "Sell me t

        • Re:Buying local (Score:4, Interesting)

          by turbidostato (878842) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:53AM (#42933293)

          "Those who favor the opposite may be willing to pay a premium - perhaps even a 100% premium - for locally grown/locally produced goods."

          And then (all other things being equal) what you are doing is promoting an unefficient productivity for your local economy instead of preferring the cheap products so making your local economy can focus on what it can do fine an on the bucket too.

          The "all other things being equal" is of importance here. Of course you can be cheaper if you use slaverish work instead of proper wages but that's not the point. Think global instead of local, but think that the human being in the other side of the globe diserves dignity as much as your neighborough.

          • Re:Buying local (Score:4, Insightful)

            by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Monday February 18, 2013 @10:33AM (#42934997)

            Your notion might please Adam Smith but your global economy and efficiency at all costs ignores the real impacts to each and every locality. I don't find it particularly helpful to a take a self-sufficient local culture, turn them into a monoculture doing whatever one thing that the globalists find they can do the best/cheapest, and make them dependent on people on the other side of the world for something they did themselves a generation ago. There's more to life than maximizing your economic output, particularly when most of the benefit accrues to others and you've mortgaged your future to do it.

          • My head hurts. You just advocated a race-to-the-bottom as being good for everyone...
      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:22AM (#42932561)

        The farmers I buy from charge perhaps 15% more; the product tastes a fair bit better. There's my frickin' anecdote.

        I was surprised by the 1/3+ figure in TFS too. That's a huge amount of honey to be slipping under the FDA radar, way too high to not become a major scandal, you'd think.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        seriously?

        for as much as a person buys does it really matter if it cost twice as much to know you're getting locally-produced product? just skip a $6 coffee on the one day every six months honey is on your grocery list.

        • by Zemran (3101) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:09AM (#42932793) Homepage Journal

          " just skip a $6 coffee on the one day"???

          Are you crazy? The neighbours would be wearing the honey... A day without coffee is far too dangerous.

          • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:35AM (#42934205) Homepage Journal

            You know, for an extra two bucks you can get almost a pound of Folgers or Maxwell House which perks pots and pots of coffee. His point is, if you're spending six bucks for a cup of something that costs pennies to make, bitching about an extra buck for quality honey is just stupid. Especially since that jar of honey will do you for months instead of hours.

            If I were moderating you'd get a "funny".

            It just struck me why people drive so stupid when I'm on my way to work -- they're racing to Starbucks, while I'm already well caffenated.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        honey is one of the most important substances on the planet. As are the bees involved. It would do well to avoid grocery store honey whenever possible.

      • I know an old neighbor in the town I grew up in. His honey is way better than store bought, and I wouldn't gladly buy it.
      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pecisk (688001) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:35AM (#42932621)

        Sorry, but good honey have *never* been cheap. If it's cheap, it's probably not very good (it's good indicator).

      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kenja (541830) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:59AM (#42932745)

        I can't believe that all the honey in the grocery store is fake.

        If it costs half as much, odds are its got filler in it.

      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Informative)

        by Izuzan (2620111) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:00AM (#42932747)
        no they just get it cheap from china and Argentina. Billy Bee honey in Canada is about 90% foreign honey that they buy dirt cheap. they are also getting what is called Honey Analog which is what this test is there to detect. gathering honey is FAR from an easy job. it is heavy hot and hard work for little pay out. (my parents are one of the bigger honey producers in Ontario) you dont make any money through the winter months. (other than what you can sell from the door) and you are going all balls to the wall during the summer. honey boxes on average weigh about 80lbs each, each yard my parents have has 20 hives, each with an average of 2-3 of these boxes coming off at any one time. then you have to exact it. to do 2 skids of boxes which is 12-16 boxes per skid is an entire days work. when they do sell their honey to packers (billy bee) they want to pay about half what the from the door price is. they make a not to bad living doing it. about 75k a year in a good year. but that is generally all at once when they sell to a packer. so that has to last them the entire year. i would not wish it on anybody. i would not get into the family business unless i had to.
        • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ebonum (830686) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:27AM (#42933213)

          I live in China. It is the same here. You can buy the crap from Carrefour ( think Walmart, but run by the French ), or you can buy from the local growers. Once you get out of the cities, you can find beekeepers that setup stands next to the highways. Most of them have boxes and boxes of hives with them. They move from farm to farm in the area, helping to pollinate the local crops. The honey they have on hand tends to be what they were last pollinating. If you ever get the chance to try some, do. It's really good stuff. Plus, it is always good to directly support the local farmers ( And Yes. They will try to up the price if you look like a city dweller. Just get back in the car. Start the engine and the price will drop 50%. )

        • We have about 20 hives as well but keep them purely as a hobby. They help us with our garden and fruit trees, as well as providing enough honey each year for us, our extended family, and close friends. We do not manage them for multiple extractions a year or other high production goals. The time and work is certainly not for the uninterested but neither is it a killer. I genuinely enjoy working with them and I love the honey we get.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Izuzan (2620111)
        Something also to consider Honey you buy from the farmer wont be pasteurized. meaning all of the vitamins taste and other nutrients are still there. Pasteurization kills honey. it is no better than corn syrup after being pasteurized.
      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Interesting)

        by amiga3D (567632) on Monday February 18, 2013 @04:01AM (#42933309)

        One benefit of local honey is help with allergies for local conditions. I have a friend with severe allergy problems and he raises bees for this very reason. I have no allergy problems but he claims that consuming the honey from local bees helps greatly. It's best if you get the honey with the honeycomb as well.

      • by drsquare (530038)

        If the honey in your grocery store is cheaper, now you know why. People expect their food to be dirt cheap without any consequences. This, and the horseburger scandal are the natural end-game to decades of relentless cost-cutting by supermarkets and bargain-chasing by consumers.

      • Re:Buy local honey (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Monday February 18, 2013 @10:53AM (#42935207) Journal

        Why does everyone wonder why locally produced food costs so much, instead of wondering why the over processed megacorp garbage is so cheap?

      • Actually a group went around testing honey from local retailers and found that 100% or nearly 100% of all honey purchased at places like CVS, Wal-Mart and a few grocers were at minimum ultrafiltered. Normally they filter out chunks of flowers and bee parts, but leave the pollen in. The ultrafiltered stuff is filtered to the point where the pollen is also extracted which is a costly and completely unnecessary step that just happens to mask the honey's origin. You can tell where honey came from based upon

      • by sjames (1099)

        If 1/3 of honey is fake or contaminated as TFA suggests, and considering that the honey from the grocery store is blended, then nearly all of it would contain some percentage of fake or contaminated honey.

    • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cyn1c77 (928549) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:20AM (#42932553)

      Most places in the US have a small local honey industry. Support it.

      Supporting local businesses is good if you want small business to remain alive.

      But that's not going to stop a "local" merchant from buying Chinese fake honey, pouring it in smaller bottles, and then selling it at twice the price.

      So buying local isn't really a fix for smuggling and fraud.

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        This. Our local farmer's market has a whole stall dedicated to peanuts - which don't grow within 1000 miles of here.

        • by swb (14022)

          It makes me crazy that most "Farmer's Markets" here in Minneapolis (including the big one just north of downtown) are flooded with produce not grown in Minnesota.

          IMHO, sellers whose products are GROWN in Minnesota should pay far less for stall space, and sellers whose products aren't should pay double and be forced to post signage that says "OUR PRODUCTS ARE NOT GROWN IN MINNESOTA".

    • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:42AM (#42932657) Homepage Journal
      This advice cannot be overstated. The benefits cannot be overstated. When I travel, and am going to be there a week, I try to get a bit of local honey. It really helps with my allergies. It also provides an unique local flavor. Yes it does cost more and many will complain that the flavor is inconsistent, but do we really want to live in a world where everything is made to minimize cost and maximize consistency. I am sure that many do. For those who don't, local honey is one way to make the world a less banal place.
      • I take tomatoes. I didn't think about it until I grew some last year. The ones in the store are all perfect. And taste bland. Boy were the home grown ones better. But we do this to have them year round and consistent. I want to get better at cooking to the season rather than to the bland stuff. I do try and cook from scratch. So that helps knowing what is in your food.
        • Re:Buy local honey (Score:5, Informative)

          by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:02AM (#42935289)

          Commercial tomato varieties are bred for tough red skin and blemish-free fruit. Flavor has no part in the equation. The commercial tomato industry was on the verge of collapse due to the increase in mechanization in farming but tomatoes were so fragile that there was no ability harvest them without destroying them. So the food scientists developed breeds that were firm, that were uniform in appearance, and that could be picked earlier. US producers pick their tomatoes while still completely green and subject them to 24 hours of ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. Many are refrigerated to further reduce spoilage but this also destroys nearly all of the flavor that may have accidentally remained.

          Recent research has indicated that the same genes that cause the uniform coloration selected for in commercial tomatoes also cause the fruit to convert the sun's energy into sugars. It isn't just that the round, red tomato-like cardboard balls at the store lost their flavor because it wasn't a priority in the breeding program - it appears that the flavor and appearance may be mutually exclusive.

  • All the more reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by eksith (2776419) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:07AM (#42932503) Homepage

    You should try to buy from your local Farmer's Market if there's one nearby, whenever possible. You will be supporting your local economy and you can be reasonably sure a local merchant isn't pumping poison into the product or the groundwater (or else someone will have noticed). Especially when it's their water too.

    I stocked up on some excellent honey and combs (these are delicious!) past Summer from our local market and they hold one at least twice a week near the town square. It's a good way to meet people in your area the old fasioned way too as opposed to FB, Twitter et al.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:12AM (#42932523) Journal
    Ok, fake honey is bad. But even legitimate Chinese honey is crap. Honey is honey, right? Bees fly around, collect nectar, then spit out honey. (Yeah, yeah, the types of flowers affects the taste. I'm getting to that.) But a lot of Chinese honey doesn't involve flowers at all -- the bees drink sugar water. For all I know, that happens in the US, too. As mentioned above, go to a farmer's market and buy some local honey.
    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:23AM (#42932565)

      I'm not 100% sure, but I believe in the U.S. the economics work out so that there's no incentive to fake the flower part and have your bees drink sugar water. Sort of the opposite, actually. Bees for crop pollination are enough in demand that some beekeepers actually make more money taking them around to pollinate crops than they do from selling the honey!

      • by arth1 (260657)

        I'm not 100% sure, but I believe in the U.S. the economics work out so that there's no incentive to fake the flower part and have your bees drink sugar water. Sort of the opposite, actually

        Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most honey farmers will take out so much honey of the hives that they have to feed the bees sugar water to survive the winter. This in turn leads to crappier honey next season.

        Some of the apiaries wont do this to their bees (and customers). But for most of them, even local ones, money is what matters, and sugar and corn syrup is a lot cheaper than honey.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:09AM (#42932791)

          Most honey farmers will take out so much honey of the hives that they have to feed the bees sugar water to survive the winter.

          I have a beehive in my backyard. I always give them some sugar water during the winter. I don't know any other beekeepers that don't do the same. It helps lower the winter die-back, and helps the hive get a strong start in the spring.

          This in turn leads to crappier honey next season.

          I have never heard this before. The bees eat the sugar, and it is all consumed by the time they start making new honey. I give them their last feeding in February, and they don't start making new honey till April. The sugar is not mixed with honey harvested for human consumption.

          • by arth1 (260657) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:45AM (#42932917) Homepage Journal

            I have a beehive in my backyard. I always give them some sugar water during the winter. I don't know any other beekeepers that don't do the same. It helps lower the winter die-back, and helps the hive get a strong start in the spring.

            So does leaving enough honeycomb for the bees. Where I come from, the hive would have nine frames, of which two would remain unharvested. If you want to give them a strong start, keep a frame in the freezer for spring.

            Yes, I boycott apiaries that feed sugar water, except in abnormal circumstances that wasn't due to taking too much honey in the first place.

            • by zifferent (656342)
              Boycott apiaries that feed in the winter? My wife started her first hive last spring and left plenty of honey in the hive to last all winter. Problem is the bees move only slowly about the hive and if their stored honey is off in another part of the hive, like one box down far, then the bees can use all their nearby stores and still starve with plenty of honey left in the hive. Sad to see so many dead bees, and simple to prevent by supplemental feeding throughout the winter. Often it has nothing to do with
        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday February 18, 2013 @09:28AM (#42934499)

          Most honey farmers will take out so much honey of the hives that they have to feed the bees sugar water to survive the winter.

          I spoke with an bee keeper shortly after the story about the problems with feeding bees HFCS (it often contains small amounts of insecticide, which causes problems with bees navigation). His comment was that it was probably not a significant problem since most beekeepers only fed bees a small amount of sugar water in the late winter so that the bees were stronger when the first blossoms of spring happened. He fed his bees cane sugar in water in late February, early March. Based on what he said, the only reason that beekeepers in the U.S. feed their bees sugar water is so that they are stronger when the blooms of spring happen, not because they took too much honey out of the hive. Nature does not care if the hive can pollinate lots of flowers and start making large amounts of honey in the early spring, so nature does not care if it takes several weeks after the flowers start to bloom for the hive to be up to speed. Commercial beekeepers on the other hand want to get as much productivity out of the hive as they can. Which means that if they can get the hive up to mid season strength as soon as the flowers start to bloom, they can make more money. Beekeepers also tend to actually treat their hives as sort of pets (not individual bees, but the hive as a whole), feeling emotionally attached to the health of the hive. Beekeepers significantly improve the health of bee hives much like cat owners improve the lives of cats.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Izuzan (2620111)
      They also don't have the food and safety laws we do in the US and Canada. much of the honey from china is from small farmers that are using old burlap sacks to squeeze the honey out of the comb. they all bring their honey to a central area and pour it into a big bin. in Canada at least if the govt tests your honey and finds a chemical that is more than the legal parts per million ALL of your honey is condemned. they confiscate it and you get no money that year. my parents have to have Samples from each yard
  • illegal antibiotics and heavy metals

    Now we know the real "ancient Chinese secret ingredients" in the "Chinese Miracle Honey" that promises that I'll "Never get another infection again."

    At least that's what "Chromium Carl" and his predecessor, "Mercury Mike," keep saying on the infomericals.

    • I don't know who Carl and Mike are, but honey has quite a few medicinal uses, including as an antiseptic. They mostly involve slathering it on your skin rather than eating it, though.

  • In addition to buying locally produced honey, which is available in most of the U.S., people really need to be reading the ingredient labels on other foods they buy. After reading the Food Safety News report linked to in the article, I'd bet that if a product lists honey as an ingredient and is made by a huge food conglomerate, odds are the honey, or whatever it really is, came from China. And we in the U.S. really need to put some teeth in the FDA's inspection process.
  • by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:34AM (#42932615)
    Once again, space industry technology is applicable to everyday life right here on earth. Pay attention, you stupid assholes in government!
  • by multiben (1916126) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:35AM (#42932619)
    Fake honey? Really? I wasn't even aware there was a fake honey underworld. I love honey and now I have to worry about whether some fuckwit has filled it with something else? Thanks alot you wankers.
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday February 18, 2013 @12:36AM (#42932623) Journal
    But seriously, don't buy clear honey. Honey can be traced by the pollen, which has been removed in clear honey.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:07AM (#42932977)

    There's a lot of domestic fake maple syrup, which is nothing but maple syrup-flavored corn syrup. So, don't get too nationalistic in criticizing the crap the Chinese are sending us.

    BTW, I heard a year or so a go there was an effort to make a law banning selling anything not pure maple syrup as such.

    • Not like whoever is in charge of such things, being an evil regulatory entity, would have the staff for this; but it shouldn't be necessary to specifically ban false labelling/advertising product-by-product. Fraud is fraud.

  • by gonz (13914) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:17AM (#42933017)

    Here is the original self-promoting story from Food Safety News:
    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/honey-laundering [foodsafetynews.com]

    However, from searching Google News (e.g. "china counterfeit honey"), the results are merely people's blogs that link to the same Food Safety News article. I'm sure FSN is providing a helpful service of raising awareness, but they are not an impartial group who we can expect to conduct a reliable investigation. Where are the confirming sources?

    Their article references the FDA, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture -- but I can't find anything on those sites to support the article's opening claim that "A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China."

    Can anybody provide a citation?

  • by ivi (126837) on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:08AM (#42933531)

    One of Australias' "Big 2" SuperMarket chains (ie, Coles) places Chinese-sourced "Honey & Syrup" in the middle of the rectangle of shelf-space otherwise occupied by honeys.

    As "Honey" is listed first, in the product's name, I - for one - was once fooled into thinking that the product would -surely- have at least 50% honey in each plastic bottle of "Honey & Syrup," so I tracked down the Australian distributor & asked for details about the product.

    (I should have generalised from what we - long ago - discovered about so-called 95 gram cans of "designer tunas" ...which turned out to contain from about 40% tuna up to slightly over 70%, depending on each can's "designer flavor.")

    (The Australian importer's phone number was answered by an auto-parts company(!). Checking the phone number, it was then listed, in the phone catalog, as a car parts company.)

    Assuming that the company was perhaps a rural-based operation, happy to convert some extra storage space into profits, I focused on the product's make-up, since the label did not specify the prevalence of either of the two named ingredients.

    Verbally, the person at the cart parts company, who answered as importer & distributor of this product, told me that the product was 60% -syrup- & only 40% honey. As the label did not show these percentages, I couldn't help replying: "Today, maybe, but I'd almost expect the Chinese supplier to further reduce the percentage of honey it may mix in, in future, ie, to cut its cost.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 18, 2013 @08:56AM (#42934275) Homepage

    Most of the honey you find that is cheap, is NOT honey but HFCS that is blended with honey. They had a big thing about that in consumer reports a couple of years ago and warned everyone away from honey that has a origin labeling that stated China or Pakastan. but it is easy to spot if you know what to look for. Blended honey is very light in color and far too clear compared to real 100% honey.

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