Web site offers ways to eliminate illegal honey

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The web site www.TrueSourceHoney.com provides information about where honey comes from and ways consumers, honey companies, food manufacturers and retailers may take action to eliminate illegally imported honey. Four North American honey marketing companies and importers — Golden Heritage Foods, L.L.C., Burleson’s Inc., Odem International and Dutch Gold Honey — launched the initiative earlier this year. The name True Source Honey has been trademarked.

“When honey is imported illegally, no one can be confident of its true source and quality,” said Jill Clark of Dutch Gold Honey, Lancaster, Pa. “We’re asking people who buy and love honey to find out more about how the honey they enjoy is sourced. By raising awareness of unfair trade practices and taking the True Source Honey pledge, we hope to protect consumers and manufacturers who use honey, and to preserve the fair honey trade.”

She added, “We estimate that millions of lbs of Chinese honey continue to enter the U.S. from countries that do not have commercial honey businesses. For example, countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Mongolia raise few bees and have no history of producing honey in commercial quantities, yet have recently exported large amounts of honey to the United States.”

On Sept. 1, an investigation being conducted by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations led to the indictment of 11 people and six corporations on federal charges for allegedly participating in a plan to import honey illegally from China. Between 2002 and 2009, the defendants allegedly conspired to import illegally more than $40 million of Chinese-origin honey to avoid anti-dumping duties totaling nearly $80 million.

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