Honey Fakery
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Thread: Honey Fakery

  1. #1
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    Default Honey Fakery

    We all know honey fakery is happening, but according to this article it is likely on a very large scale in the US, and does not appear to be policed much if at all. A recent govt investigation found large scale fraud in Australia, and it is likely to be similar or worse in the USA.

    Bad for the consumer, and especially bad for honest beekeepers trying to earn a living.

    All it should take is for store bought honey samples to be properly tested, with severe penalties for fraudsters.

    https://returntonow.net/2019/04/21/f...VdtRxv-RhN--Kg
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    I agree people committing fraud should be given a fair trial and shot. It is called killing the golden goose!

    Devils advocate here. How do you tell the difference between sucrose of vegetable origin and sucrose, the major component of Canola honey also of vegetable origin? I have a good supply of that in its water white glory that if the truth were known I am ashamed to sell. It tastes like sugar syrup to me! I do sell it under separate label and a portion of the public prefers it to the stronger tasting light alfalfa honey. They are indistinguishable in the jar. My friends tell me to blend it.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    All it should take is for store bought honey samples to be properly tested, with severe penalties for fraudsters.

    https://returntonow.net/2019/04/21/f...VdtRxv-RhN--Kg
    Yes, for bottling grade honey I agree. I think where much of the adulterated honey ends up is in commercial bakeries as an ingredient so they can feature "HONEY" on the label.
    Where this report is erroneous is assuming that because a majority of the honey sold in the US contains no pollen they make the assumption that it has been blended with some sort of sweetener. The great majority of the honey on the shelf here is 100% honey but they do filter all the pollen out to make a clearer product that stays in a liquid form longer.
    As they stated the new NMR test, while expensive, apparently does discern exactly what type of sweetener it may be. Lets hope this leads to the ferreting out of any crooked honey suppliers whether they are beekeepers or honey packers.
    Last edited by jim lyon; 06-02-2019 at 09:58 AM.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    I was brought up to trust only small local honey producers (personally known) to get pure (real) honey. After tasting store bought, I tend to stick with my upbringing.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Are the beekeepers feeding the sugar syrup to the bees and selling the honey or are the packers directly adding syrup to the honey?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    The primary concern is deliberatly adulterated honey being imported from overseas. IE, it's been adulterated by the processor, then exported to the US and other countries.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    I think the Chinese understand our legal system well enough to understand the presumption of innocence.
    We can assume the Chinese are removing all pollen from their honey to make it impossible to trace adulterated honey to them. Even if every packer in the world stops removing all pollen from their honey it still doesn't convict the Chinese of fraud. They will claim someone else is cheating. It has to be proven they did adulterate their honey, not that everyone else did not.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  9. #8
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    Default

    I remember reading a Chinese company bought a large bee operation in Australia. Probably a means to blend there fake honey with one drop of Manuka and sell as manuka for $20 a lb.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    I think the Chinese understand our legal system well enough to understand the presumption of innocence.
    We can assume the Chinese are removing all pollen from their honey to make it impossible to trace adulterated honey to them. Even if every packer in the world stops removing all pollen from their honey it still doesn't convict the Chinese of fraud. They will claim someone else is cheating. It has to be proven they did adulterate their honey, not that everyone else did not.

    Alex
    I read a while back that more honey comes out of India than India produces. China sends honey to India and then India sends it out as Indian honey. Removal of pollen will protect the China sources. Since China uses banned chemicals that do get into the honey, that is a problem for US consumers.

    Thank you for the article.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    It affects us over here in NZ. We do not import honey so as not to get new bee diseases. However most of the honey we produce is exported, so we compete on the world market and are as affected by world honey prices as anyone else. Cheapo fake honey depresses prices generally so affects beekeepers world wide.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Devils advocate here. How do you tell the difference between sucrose of vegetable origin and sucrose, the major component of Canola honey also of vegetable origin?
    From an analytical point-of-view, not all sucroses are exactly alike - it's all to do with what's known as C3/C4 synthesis which produces different isotope ratios. So biochemically speaking they will behave the same, but can be identified as being different by comparative isotope analysis.

    For example, sucroses originating from sugar cane and from corn syrup are identifiable as C4, whereas sucrose originating from sugar beet is C3. Most sucrose found in honey will also be C3 - so adulteration with sugar-beet sugar is undetectable by routine methods. (I wonder if I should be writing this ... ?)

    However there is still one technique which can identify honey adulteration with C3 sugars, but it's extremely expensive to perform and is only likely to be used to provide evidence for prosecution purposes rather than for routine scanning.

    Just in case anyone wants a few more details - in C3 plants the carboxylation reaction is accomplished by the enzyme RUBP carboxylase, while in C4 plants the carboxylation reaction is accomplished by the enzyme PEP carboxylase. Essentially, C4 plants are adapted to warm, dry climates while C3 plants are adapted to cool, more humid climates.

    Hope this helps.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    The leading problem is the lack of a legal definition of honey in many areas. If you present a judge with a jar of "honey" and the lab results, the judge must compare that with a legal definition. If honey has not been legally codified, the judge can not proceed. In Wisconsin we do have a definition, which includes moisture levels, sugar ratios, and C3/C4 comparisons (ISCRA). If the lab results to not match, you can bring a suite in Wisconsin. Some crazy fool pushed for that definition (and almost got evicted from the Ag. dept.).

    Crazy Roland

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    You Roland? LOL
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    "almost" being the operative word.

    Crazy Roland

  16. #15

    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    This is my 50th year of beekeeping.
    I'm in northern New Mexico.

    Back in 1973-74, a company set up in Albuquerque was selling 5% honey 95% high fructose corn syrup with a label which said HONEY in huge letters and underneath that "imitation" in extremely small letters.

    We members of the New Mexico Beekeeping Association got together and lobbied the state legislature to pass the "Pure Honey Act", which prohibited anyone offering for sale a product which contained the word "Honey" on the label displayed prominently unless the contents were 100% pure honey. The counterfeiter in Albuquerque got out of the phony honey business.

    For many years, we didn't see phony honey on the stores shelves in New Mexico.

    Then about five years ago, I noticed the local WalMart store had bottles of phony honey for sale, with the label saying basically the same thing that the guy used back in 1973-74. When I came home, I looked up the state law online and found that the "Pure Honey Act" had been repealed a couple years before. I searched and found the details of the Agriculture Committee hearings and found that the then officers of the New Mexico Beekeepers' Association and representatives of the NM Department of Agriculture had attended the hearings and AGREED AND CONSENTED TO THE REPEAL OF THE PURE HONEY ACT!!!

    I had become inactive as a member of the NMBA (for good reasons). But I felt that the officers of that organization had betrayed our profession and honest beekeepers not only within the state, but everywhere!

    I have despaired of ever mounting another campaign to outlaw the phony honey here in NM. It took a lot of effort and time back in 1974, I'm getting older now... and already planning on cutting my beekeeping down to a couple of hives in the garden...

    It's a damned shame.

    You've got to have a law... either state of federal, preferably both... and you've got to have effective enforcement by the F&DA and state consumer protection officials. Years ago, I talked with the state agent for the F&DA and they told me honey is very low priority for them... that they were concerned more about foods which could make people sick or kill them... and that they had very limited resources and personnel and that lab testing was beyond their budgets....

    The National Honey Producers Association started fighting the importation of contaminated Chinese honey many years ago. It was an expensive fight, but finally we got a ban enacted. Now the Chinese are by-passing the ban by selling to India, Viet Nam and Mexico and Chinese honey has been entering the USA again in recent years.

    Unscrupulous honey packers from many places are now selling as "honey" a product diluted with varying amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

    It's going to be up to you younger beekeepers to fight the good fight in coming years.

    Educate your customers!!
    Educate the general public!!
    Enlist and push your elected legislators both state and national.
    Then push for enforcement!

    Then you may be able to truthfully say
    "All the Best to You!!"

    KB Garrison
    New Mexico

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    The leading problem is the lack of a legal definition of honey in many areas.
    In Canada there is a legal definition of honey. The first section:-
    =========

    Honey

    B.18.025 [S]. Honey shall be the food produced by honey bees and derived from

    (a) the nectar of blossoms,

    (b) secretions of living plants, or

    (c) secretions on living plants,

    and shall have

    (d) a fluid, viscous or partly or wholly crystallized consistency;

    (e) a diastase activity, determined after processing and blending, as represented by a diastase figure on the Gothe scale of not less than eight where the hydroxy-methyl-furfural content is not more than 0.004 per cent; or

    (f) a diastase activity, determined after processing and blending, as represented by a diastase figure on the Gothe scale of not less than three where the hydroxy-methyl-furfural content is not more than 0.0015 per cent.
    =======

    For more detail, this link contains a bunch more.

    https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regul....html#h-573598

    C3/C4 testing can easily be defeated by the folks mixing with rice syrup according to Peter Awram, a BC beekeeper that recently set up a new NMR lab specifically for testing honey.

    https://www.columbiavalleypioneer.co...ct-fake-honey/

    Peter is probably an ideal candidate for such an endeavor. He has a background (PHD I believe) in microbiology. He is a second generation beekeeper and returned to the family business after some years in acadamia. He runs 5000+ colonies for blueberry pollination and honey production, and now he also runs an NMR lab. I've known Peter for some years, we have corresponded on numerous subjects around beekeeping and using various technologies to assist in colony management. I forwarded samples from our hives in fireweed last year for them to use during lab commissioning.

    I drove over to Chilliwack for the grand opening event at the lab, it was enlightening. We were shown the NMR data from pure blueberry honey, then that same honey from the same frame adulterated with rice syrup. both samples were able to pass the C3/C4 testing, but the rice syrup signature stood out like a sore thumb on the NMR data. He had samples of many different honey brands purchased in local grocery stores, and it was surprising to see how many of them contained that obvious spike that the rice syrup creates in the NMR data trace.

    Will it make a difference over time having this lab available ? Guess time will tell. But credit where credit is due, lots of beekeepers whining about how there needs to be better testing for honey imports. Peter put his money where his mouth is and set up a lab to do the testing. Casual conversation suggests they spent on the order of a million to get the NMR machine in and installed into a facility that can become a certified lab.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    Excellent post KB Garrison.

    It is astonishing that a beekeepers organisation would be supporting the legalising of fake honey. Only motivation i could imagine would be if they had their own fingers in the trough also.

    Never ending battle it would seem!
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    KB , understand your frustration. Check out the AHPA. They seem to mean business.

    Grozzie - Yes, ISCRA is old tech, NMR new. My concern is with identifying a standard, in the chemical lab definition of standard. Is it possible for the person with the rice syrup to claim theirs is real, and the honey sample is fake? The NMR test can show the difference, but can it prove which one is real?

    For clarity, I support real honey, and despise phuney honey, but am afraid of jumping on a band wagon that leaves the door open for corruption.

    Crazy Roland

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Honey Fakery

    http://www.truesourcehoney.com/

    Heard about these guys on the Beekeeping today podcast. Probably be seeing the seal on some goods real soon.

  21. #20
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    Default

    Search for the documentary series on Netflix called Rotten. One episode is about the fake honey issue. It’s called Lawyers, Guns, and Honey. It’s pretty good.

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