Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 113
  1. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Mr Spock....I disagree with you.....Most consumers have no idea there is chinese honey they are eating. Yes alot of people buy as cheap as they can,,but they are pinching pennies due to big companies cutting cost (wages, health care benefits) while ceo gets a multimillion bonus! Most consumers are getting wiser to the differance in local home grown honey and honey packed by big packers. Alot try it, dont like it and never buy honey again. BUT GREED is the problem....from the chinese adulterating the honey(more for money than to prevent adulteration), and from US big business who want that profit margin, ceo bonuses ect regardless of how they make it...yes its someones greed, lest take Kroger for example..I'll bet when they bid out a contract for 12oz honey bears....it is "who is the cheapest regardless of what it taste like...its still honey) Greed (big business)has gotten us in this mess.
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 03-08-2010 at 05:48 PM. Reason: civility

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Rome NY USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    I agree with Bud Dingler with all the advertising about CCD People ask me constantly about whats going on with the bees and are happy to pay me five dollars a pound so let ride the train and make as much as we can while we can.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    I'm sure I'll take some flack for this, but nonetheless....

    It's easy to blame China, but China is not the problem.

    Is all domestic honey "good"? Is all domestic honey "pure"?

    The findings by Penn State that trapped pollen from the U.S. (that has never been in the hive) is contaminated with fluvalinate and coumaphos makes a fairly tight case that the honey/nectar that the bees are taking from the hive to pack the pollen with is contaminated no? If not, how did that pollen get contaminated?

    Do we believe that all U.S. produced honey is free from HFCS adultration? Do we believe that this is what the U.S. consumer thinks they are paying for?

    Poor quality honey (domestic or imported) is the problem...and there is plenty of that produced right here in the U.S. by those doing pollination, and who are happy to dump the waste product (HFCS run through the bees, contaminated with legal and illegal treatments) to a packer so that they don't have to face the consumer directly...for this privilege, the producer is happy to take a low price (or perhaps a high price if you consider the quality of the product). This is not to say that all migratory producers are guilty (I've recently seen a lab report from a treatment free migratory operation's broodnest honey...with zero residue of anything), some are certainly interested in producing quality honey....even among those who use treatments (even illegal ones).

    The packers generally rely on this subpar product (both to purchase directly, and to lower the price of the higher quality product), _and_ on the reputation that honey enjoys as a "clean, natural product"...perhaps the last pure product of U.S. agriculture (as opposed to feedlot cattle, overcrowded beakless chickens, heavily sprayed veggies, etc).

    The other shoe is poised to drop, and the big packers who rely on this "buy low, sell high, and happily mislead our customers" are worried...hence this from a NHB press release from last year:
    The “Honey Simplified” brochure has been created in response to disturbing findings that have recently been uncovered by National Honey Board sponsored market research. Among these findings are the facts that among even the most frequent and dedicated honey users there is widespread confusion as to what ingredients might be found in a bottle of pure honey. Anywhere from 30-percent to 40-percent of frequent honey users believe that other sweeteners, water, or even oils are added to pure honey once it is extracted from the comb. Another disturbing finding is that a large percentage of honey consumers feel that there is a major difference in terms of purity in what can be found in “supermarket honey” versus “farmer’s market honey.”
    Do we think the consumer is that dumb? Well, perhaps, but it doesn't take much to point out that sweeteners and oils (hfcs, thymol, etc) are added to some honey _before_ it is extracted from the comb.

    The above is an attempt by the NHB to commidify honey as if it were cement. Is all honey equal? Would you trade a barrel of your crop even with a barrel of honey from an unknown source? It's akin to taking a class in school where students are given the option to get a letter grade or a pass/fail. If you are getting an A, you will obviously want to see that A on the report card....but if you are getting a D, a "pass" is much more attractive.

    The problem is not Chinese honey, it's the effort by the NHB, and the bad actors in the U.S. honey production industry that want their products seen as equivalent to that produced with care. If the good actors don't stand up to the NHB and the bad actors (I assume that some of these are members of the AHPA, and that the AHPA represents their interests along with those of the good actors...if this is the case, they are not the solution).

    Education of the consumer is paramount, and I don't know how it can be done without casting those with poor practices (WRT producing a pure honey product) in a bad light...even if they are Americans...even if they are friends.

    Blaming China is the easy thing to do, but it is the NHB, the packers, and some segment of U.S. beekeepers that are to blame. If what was sold as domestic honey in this country was universally a superiour product, the conflict would be more akin to real maple syrup vs. Mrs. Butterworth...a real difference that the consumer can taste.

    deknow

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Swalwell, AB
    Posts
    581

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    > Am I missing something? Allen, could you elaborate?

    Two things, and two Allens.

    1.) Europe is in much worse trouble than the US, if you can imagine that, and the Euro is headed back to less than a buck. (88c seems like a good bet).

    2.) There are many more Chinese that Americans and the ones who have money, have lots of money and like to spend it on good things. I don't know if you have even bought honey in China, but the honey I have tasted sold there was not honey or anything like it. I can see how a good pack would sell off the shelves there quickly.

    As for the other talk of how Chinese honey is produced, there is a wide variation in the degree of sophistication, from very advanced to very primitive. In the latter case, people move their bees around the country as best they can and extract single combs in tents. That does not necessarily mean a bad product, but those facilities do not measure up to our local expectation. To compensate for that the honey exporters have very advanced plants which are designed to take that variable product and turn it into a product that has lost any undesirable original character.

    From our perspective over here which is based on the idea that any weak link in the production chain condemns a product and that blending or filtration or other chemical treatment to rectify deficiencies is not acceptable, and often illegal, this is not fair play because it occurs outside our system.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    deknow....I find it hard to believe a major packer was suprised to find the consumer thought there was major differance between farmers market honey and store shelf honey....geez are they really that stipid? Dont they taste that crap they put in a jar? The NHB started off to be a good thing.... the intent was good, and in my opinion would have been alot better if the USDA hadnt made them promote honey generically...and prevented them from promoting US honey. Now thats its a packer board guess they are getting a education... it sounds like it anyway and needless to say they need one!

  6. #46
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,279

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Education of the consumer is paramount, and I don't know how it can be done without casting those with poor practices (WRT producing a pure honey product) in a bad light...even if they are Americans...even if they are friends.

    This is always the key when trying to distinguish one product from another. Individual producers need a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" or "Underwriters Laboratory" style of certification for quality that consumers can rely on to assure them of quality.

    Trying to get beekeepers to cooperate for their own good seems to be a nearly impossible task however, which provides the packers and international suppliers with the leverage they need to take advantage of the situation.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Sutton...it gets even more amazing than that. Here is a quote from the NHB April 2009 board meeting minutes (it's amazing that they put this online for us to read):
    There was a discussion of what market research has recently revealed in regard to a common consumer misconception of pure honey having something added. Wolk said consumers are now differentiating between honey sold at farmer’s markets versus honey available in supermarkets. To that end, we have produced a “Honey Simplified” brochure explaining to consumers what is in a bottle of honey. Wolk emphasized that this mis-perception about what is in a bottle of pure honey is a serious trend that must be addressed.
    Mis-perception? Really?

    I haven't looked closely at the honey standards that are being floated around, but if pure honey gets defined as anything that is extracted from the comb (be it nectar, HFCS, or coumaphos), then this is all "pure honey". We might as well define Pi as equal to 3 for convenience.

    Barry...IMHO, the minute we have some "seal of approval"...be it "good housekeeping" or "organic", whatever the certifying agency is ripe to lower it's standards so that the less good producers can be in the same category as the better ones.

    I find myself in the position of actually being a honey packer (yes, we have a fully certified and inspected facility). We have just finished up at the 3rd Organic Beekeeping Conference in Arizona. We had two organic certifiers speak (and come hang out at Dee's for a bit), and there are some new developments on the certification front. Most notably, the USDA now considers bees to be livestock, and absent of a specific honey standard, the general livestock rules apply to honey. We could now get some (or all) of our product certified, but we won't do it...and it has nothing to do with the fees.

    The product we sell (according to our own standards set by my wife Ramona and myself) exceeds the standards that will be eventually adopted for honey (probably 2 years or so best I can tell), and we see no reason to put our product in the same class (with the same usda organic stamp) as what we see as a lesser qualtiy product.

    By no means do I think that everyone will (or should) have the same criteria for quality as we do. But our customers have come to trust us for a high quality product. We trust our suppliers for a high quality product that meets our standards. We give our customers what they want, and they appreciate it (some have become beekeepers, some think what we are doing is important enough to help us).

    My point is that trusted (and trustworthy) brands are what we need (not certification, not a seal of approval, not a grade from the USDA), and there seem to be few packers that are willing to put the quality of the product first, are willing to pay for it, willing to charge for it, and willing to take the effort to educate customers so that they are willing to pay for a premium product.

    deknow

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    deknow...exactly right. Even it the honey onthe shelf is pure it still taste like crap...doesnt that or should I say doesnt any packer or board member understand taste matters. I'll bet they would if they got a bad tough steak..It would still be pure meat.....maybe they wont ever get it and us small producer/packers canmake some good $$ as stated earlier.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,279

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Barry...IMHO, the minute we have some "seal of approval"...
    Perhaps "seal of approval" is misleading in the context of this thread. We're talking about distinguishing US honey from Chinese honey, which brings us back to Country of Origin labeling.

    American beekeepers need to do a better job of informing the public about honey produced here. Think Florida orange juice, California raisins, etc. I think that the beeks themselves would have to do this as they are the only ones who stand to benefit from a shift in consumer demand from whatever happens to be on a shelf to a distinctly American produced honey. The almond growers did a pretty good job of it with their product.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Hi Barry,

    I think we are "two ships passing in the night" here.

    I don't buy the distinction:
    American produced honey good
    Imported honey bad

    There is plenty of poor quality American produced honey available on the bulk and retail market (see my post above), and it does those who are producing a quality product no good to team up with those that are producing a poor quality product to differentiate from the imports.

    Barry, if I offered to trade you your entire crop (including what goes on your breakfast table) with an equal amount of honey from another U.S. beekeeper (without specifying who), would you do it? Is there U.S. produced honey that you wouldn't want to eat? That you wouldn't buy (and put your name on) to hold your accounts in a bad year?

    IMHO, we have to be careful who we align with in any conflict. Certainly the NHB is not our friend....but then again, neither is the migratory operator who extracts hfcs and sells it as honey to the highest bidder. This operator damages the reputation of U.S. honey, and devalues your product. Sure, the Chinese honey devalues your product also, but a quality Chinese honey (even if it were cheap) would at least boost the market for honey (based on a good experience by the consumer).

    deknow

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    deknow is right. For example on a couple of occasions I have mad some redbud honey....if a producer sold it as table honey..well there is nothing worse. Taste like caster oila nd used motor oil mixed togather! All honey is not table honey! I think it just happens that chinese honey for the most part is of poor quality, maybe not all but a large part of it either becauce it taste bad or is adulterated. THere is some excellant honey inported, but what killes the market(both price and quality) makes up a large part of imports at present. Eu gets aloteof the high quality. We as american beekeepers need to sell as our bottled honey floral source and high quality. The rest should go to bakers. ANd purity should be utmost in iportance.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    ...just in case i haven't stuck my neck out far enough yet...

    poor tasting or burnt honey is fine for baking...but what about honey containing ag chemicals and miticides? perhaps ethanol to run the bee truck?

    deknow

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    746

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    deknow, good comments, but I disagreee that there alot or a few bad actors producing an adulterated product in the USA or Canada for that mater.Testing is done by reputable packers as well as on the store shelf.Adulterated sugar profiles in honey are unmistakable, I believe you might possibly be able to have 7 %adultration with present detection systems, would this be cost effective or the risk be worth it. If there are a few bad apples ,their volume of honey is a drop in the bucket to the shear volume of chinese honey

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    deknow has a point on the bad tasting honey. Some of the portion packs at restaurants taste so bad there are no words to describe it! porbable mostly imports but I'm sure there is some US too.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,464

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    This might be the proper time for a story that mu father told me. If any of the recollection is NOT fact, please notify so that I may edit.

    The setting was WWII, things where being rationed, and prices fixed. A packer from Chicago, by the name of Straub(?), was on the board that set the price of raw honey from the beekeeper, and the price of honey in a jar. Being a shrewd man, he set the price of raw honey low, and the price of bottled honey high, ensuring himself a fortune. Well, it seems he was not quite as shred as the beekeepers, because they most all proceeded to set up farm stands, and sell their honey in jars. The sign out side my Grandfather's house read "Halt, yee will find your honey here". Oh, and Mr Straub had a hard time finding anyone to sell him honey.

    It's a good thing history NEVER repeats itself(wink,wink,wink)

    Roland Diehnelt
    Linden Apiary Est. 1852

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Hi Irwin,

    I don't disagree that there are reputable packers that will not buy adulterated honey...but when they reject a load, what happens to it? I've only heard of one load of honey being destroyed, and that was bees that got into discarded pharmaceuticals (my recollection is that the manufacturer paid for the honey). So, what happens to a rejected load (either domestic or imported)? I assume someone buys it at a low price and either puts it in a bottle, or in some "healthy" granola bar.

    I have no experience working for a large migratory beekeeper, but I have made it a point to talk to as many who have as I possibly can. In every case, I'm told that HFCS is fed to stimulate brood rearing (pollen sub as well), and that the "honey" (from bees being fed HFCS with little forage available) is removed before shipping the bees to the almonds (for obvious shipping weight issues).

    I've never been told that this is kept for bee feed. I've never been told that it is used to make ethanol. I've never been told it was dumped down the drain. It _has_ to end up somewhere. Some of these operations run tens of thousands of colonies.

    I'd love to be convinced that this does not end up in food for humans (either in a jar or in breakfast cereal)...please convince me, I'd feel much better about everything. But somehow we have to account for what happens to this "honey" that is being "produced" domestically by some segment of our migratory industry.

    By no means do I think the Chinese honey problem should be ignored, but by focusing on Chinese honey, we are missing the bigger picture that quality (and purity) is what we really care about. Chinese honey is only part of the problem, and s long as we are going to address the problem, we might as well focus on what we really care about.

    deknow

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I have no experience working for a large migratory beekeeper, but I have made it a point to talk to as many who have as I possibly can. In every case, I'm told that HFCS is fed to stimulate brood rearing (pollen sub as well), and that the "honey" (from bees being fed HFCS with little forage available) is removed before shipping the bees to the almonds (for obvious shipping weight issues).

    I'd love to be convinced that this does not end up in food for humans (either in a jar or in breakfast cereal)...
    deknow
    I don't know who you are claiming to be talking to or about, and wonder how many "as many as I possibly can" actually is. If you are presenting your survey as evidence of widespread adulteration by US beeks in general and almond pollinators in particular I would have to disagree. This sort of blanket statement should be backed up by verifiable sources. But I suspect naming names would get you sued.

    I know a lot of commercial beeks and none of them feed sugar and then extract it to cut weight for trucking. I am appalled by your implication that it is common practice.
    In our case, we feed syrup and sub in fall in Wisconsin, and in California to stimulate brood rearing for almonds. This is after supers are off. Bees are often fed upon leaving the almonds as well. This is before supers are on. We don't extract the brood boxes. In addition to that, most (all?) packers of any size sample and test their incoming honey. They don't want to pay high honey prices for corn syrup or be liable for distributing honey contaminated with chemicals and they test to make sure they do not. Those reports are passed along to the producer; beekeepers know they are being tested. No beekeeper that I know would risk the publicity of trying to pass syrup as honey.

    That said, would I vouch that there are never sweetheart deals where a packer knowingly buys adulterated honey? NO.
    Would I bet my life on the purity of all honey on grocery store shelves? NO.

    Hopefully the honey definition regs being passed in some states will prove a useful tool to expose anyone producing or packing "honey" that is not "honey" or advertising a product as containing honey when it does not. Anyone doing this should be treated like the crooks they are, whether they are beekeepers, importers or packers.
    If nothing else, perhaps the potential for bad publicity and legal consequences will encourage some to clean up their act.
    Sheri
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 03-10-2010 at 09:34 PM.

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Very well said sherri!

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,121

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    I know a lot of commercial beeks and none of them feed sugar and then extract it to cut weight for trucking. I am appalled by your implication that it is a wide spread practice.
    Sherry, I'm embroiled in a situation right now. Bought several trailer loads of Chinese Tallow honey from Louisiana. The stuff crystallized very fast...faster than my customer could use it. They send it back, I liquify it, they send it back again crystallized, a month later. From all I've talked to, Tallow is a slow crystallizing honey.

    I'm not going to name any names. That's a private affair. But...last summer this beekeeper with 15,000 colonies had an excluder and a super on all his colonies on Maine Blueberries...and a HFCS feeded full of syrup.

    Also, I know another in Florida with some 12,000 colonies who does feed feed feed and treat treat treat...and then extracts the brood chambers to lighten the 20 some loads going to California Almonds.

    In talking to a state apiculturist who is stuck in the middle of this, I was told that the packers are now testing every load for adulteration and finding it widespread...testing for adulteration is cheap, about $25 per sample. They are sending samples to Coastal Science Laboratories, in Austin Texas. You could call and ask what they are finding. Ask Ken Winters (512-288-5533) about the SIRA analysis they are running on samples sent in by the large packers.

    So I lost my biggest customer...used to buy 28,800 lbs a month...the sound you hear is the sound of me sucking air. They've held back more than $10,000 claiming problems with the honey. I still owe that much to the producer and he's getting pissed. Oh effing well. The next honey I get back...provided I do get it back...is going straight to Coastal Science.

    Sherry, don't get me wrong. I'm not accusing you or anyone else except for the two I know about. You're an honest hardworking beekeeping family. And that's what you know...your operation. But believe it. There is plenty of adulterated honey out there...not necessarily adulterated by beekeepers adding HFCS to the honey tanks directly, but...by feeding and extracting the broodnests or feeding with supers on while in the Blueberry Barrens of Maine.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,243

    Default Re: Cheap Chinese Honey and the threat to U.S. Beekeepers

    "...By no means do I think the Chinese honey problem should be ignored, but by focusing on Chinese honey, we are missing the bigger picture that quality (and purity) is what we really care about..." this is my point about chinese honey-while there may be instances of american honey having been cut with HFCS i dont recall EVER hearing of an american food product cut with POISON. if the chinese will do it to milk, all their food products should be suspect.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads