From Honey Laundering to Honeygate and the Honey Lobby, Intrigue Buzzes around U.S. Honey Industry

Saturday, October 04, 2014
Honey being removed from beehives (photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP)

Policymakers in Washington have a sticky situation on their hands involving all things honey related.


The honey lobby, which represents producers of the pure sweet delight, wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt rules that clearly define what honey is and what it isn’t.


A big complaint, the lobby says, involves the cutting of honey with corn syrup by some producers, both foreign and domestic. They also want the government to define how much pollen “real” honey has, since some popular brands have little or none of it.


The lobby has been fighting for years for the standards, ever since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to set a definition for honey. “The FDA allows anything that’s ‘a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of flowers and store in honeycombs’ to be labeled honey,” The Atlantic’s Bouree Lam wrote.


Industry representatives also want the government to crack down on illegal imports of honey, known as honey laundering, which has resulted in product that is sometimes cut with corn syrup being dumped into the U.S. at below-market prices. Customs agents recently uncovered as part of “Project Honeygate” at least two American honey plants breaking the law, Lam reported.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Honey Lobby Is Demanding That the Government Define Honey (by Bouree Lam, The Atlantic)

Most Honey Sold in U.S. Stores Isn’t Really Honey (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

USDA Cracks Down on Honey Laundering (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

China Accused of Smuggling Honey into U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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