Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Attorney in Chicago, filed and indictment this week against an illegal honey import scam;
Eleven Chinese and German executives and six of their food supply and honey export companies were charged Wednesday with 44 counts of conspiring to illegally import Chinese-origin honey, including honey tainted with antibiotics, into the U.S. by mislabeling it as originating in other countries to avoid paying anti-dumping fees, Fitzgerald said.
I have heard local beekeepers complaining for years about the illegal dumping of Chinese honey in the U.S. and I guess they were right. I was intrigued that some of the honey in question was imported through Tacoma by Rainier Cascade Inc. But the most alarming aspect is that the importers, in some cases, knew the honey was polluted with antibiotics and they shipped it and distributed it anyway.
Fitzgerald said the defendants were distributing "adulterated honey that never should have reached the U.S. marketplace."
The adulterants -- illegal additives that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says cannot be permitted in any food product -- included mostly small amounts of the antibiotics and antibacterial drugs Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin, Chloramphenicol and Furazolidone.
One idea would be to eat Chinese honey full of antibiotics to medicate ourselves against the effects of salmonella laced eggs. The industrial food system has come full circle.
The only way to guarantee the quality and health of the food we eat is to know the source and to know the people at the source. We can't rely on governments or multi-national corporations to ensure the health of our food. Local Harvest is a great place to start. The local farmers' market is even better.