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June 10, 2010

Schumer: Import rule needed to limit honey 'fraud'
Impure Chinese imports hurting American producers, senator says
By MICHAEL GORMLEY
Associated Press Writer

ALBANY — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants a national standard for pure honey to sting fraudulent imports from China that are hurting an American honey market valued at up to $12 billion.

Schumer is asking the federal food and drug commissioner for a standard that would halt imports of adulterated or mislabeled honey from abroad. It's called "honey laundering" and Florida and Wisconsin have enacted their own pure honey standards, with other states preparing similar legislation to protect their markets.

Honey laundering includes intentionally mislabeling shipments of honey and setting up shell companies to disguise the country of origin to avoid tariffs or limit restrictions designed to protect U.S. producers.

A Chinese executive pleaded guilty in August to a federal charge he conspired to smuggle adulterated honey into the United States to avoid the decade-old tariffs enacted to curb imports. That case in Seattle was one of two such criminal cases filed last year.

"Chinese companies, like common criminals, are honey laundering," Schumer said. "They're intentionally hiding the true origin and content of their honey."

Schumer said Wednesday that more than 144 million pounds of honey is produced each year in the U.S. The Democrat said losses are as much as $200 million a year in the U.S.

Schumer is also introducing legislation that would provide greater enforcement power at customs offices along borders.
 

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One might find that the Definition of honey the Federal Government comes up with changes over time or becomes so strict that very few will be able to comply with it. One also may find that everyone with a single hive will be required by law to have a dedicated honey processing facility.
 

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal responsibility and ICE agents do not and will not enforce state laws or regulations at the international ports. The point in taking federal action is to stop this stuff at the ports, where it's easiest to catch it. Once it's in the country, it is much more difficult to catch the offenders.
 

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What about the Bill? Regardless of who is proposing it, what is it worth? Is it a good idea? Or not? How do you feel about that?

Should Congress be doing something to protect the American Honey Producers from unfair/illegal practices of another country? Should Congress try to protect the American Consumer from possibly tainted honey?

If our customers get some bad honey, whose country of origin is China, they won't care where it came from, they will suspect Honey, not just Chinese Honey.

So, again, is this bill something we should support or not and why?
 

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It has to go through the Senate and the House, so he will probably only get 1/2 of what he's asking for. Question is, will the other Senators make it better or worse?
 

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I think most of you are missing a VERY important point. Importation of Chinese adultered honey is ALREADY illegal. ICE and members of Congress have been briefed and are informed about the ways Chinese honey is being sent through other countries and arriving in the US. The Honey Packing Companies are WELL aware of this as countries that have no honey production are suddenly a primary source of foreign honey to these packers and they REFUSE to report to the USG when they discover honey that has been altered referring instead to "return" it to the sender.

Like everything else, the existing laws need to be enforced but are not. ICE should have a task force set up to work on this issue, but they do not. If individual ICE agents do not take it upon themselves to initiate an investigation one does not get done. ALL imported honey should be inspected and verified. Any packer who buys honey from foreign honey should have to verify and certify it's purity and country of origin. If they are caught utilizing or not adhering to these regulations they should be fined heavily and/or face criminal charges.

The kicker is that NOTHING is going to be done until you get a bunch of people that are sickened or worse killed from bad imported honey. Then it will be too late. The packers will all cry "I didn't know." but the honey industry, including the US producers and our friends in Canada will have a heck of a time regaining the consumer trust and most will not be able to survive while we wait for people to forget.

Rather then new laws write your congressman. and have them place calls to ICE and the FBI. Your letter should contain some of the following language.

Dear Congressman,

As a US honey producer and or consumer, I am worried about the contamination of our food supply through the importation of honey that contains dangerous levels of chemicals produced in China and various other countries. It is also common knowledge that the Chinese are shipping their honey to the US through other countries listing this countries as the country of origin to evade excise taxes and detection. I am writing you to let you know that failure to inspect these foreign imports threatens our food supply and the livelihood of US honey producers. I am asking that you contact the heads of ICE, the FBI and any other government entity to initiate investigations into this serious and potentially dangerous situation before we have a national crisis.


Keep copies of the letters. Congressman hate this type of thing because the HAVE to act on it. Should something happen and the press and public is made aware that the Congressman was made aware of the problem and did nothing then it is political suicide. So write to as many congressmen as possible...much better way to go then new regulations that are also not enforced.
 

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Since the government has gotten out of the bee industry ,honey loan program or other programs the price of honey has steadily risen . Now that they are going to get back into it prices will steadily fall. All they have to do is enforce the laws that are already there and leave our industry alone. Any industry the federal govt. gets involved with they screw it up.

The honey standard sounds so nice and easy but people forget China can bring pure honey to our shore for .30 a lb. if something like this goes thru there will be some loop hole and China will start dumping here again. These politicians need leave the private sector alone.
 

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Since the government has gotten out of the bee industry ,honey loan program or other programs the price of honey has steadily risen . Now that they are going to get back into it prices will steadily fall. All they have to do is enforce the laws that are already there and leave our industry alone. Any industry the federal govt. gets involved with they screw it up.

The honey standard sounds so nice and easy but people forget China can bring pure honey to our shore for .30 a lb. if something like this goes thru there will be some loop hole and China will start dumping here again. These politicians need leave the private sector alone.
I don't see how you draw the corrolation between the end of the honey loan program and the the rise in honey price. I think it is quite a stretch to say one has anything to do w/ the other.

To your second paragraph: China is already dumping honey into our market by sending it through countries thatdon't have a honey producing industry. And "bring pure honey to our shore"? That is also part of the problem, it ain't pure.
 

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On Schumers' website this news release is currently posted. Parts of it read:
"Two days after Schumer exposes Chinese honey laundering, FDA announces seizure of 64 barrels of illegal, contaminated Chinese honey" "contaminated w/ a potent antibiotic".

Chloramphenicol
 

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One might find that the Definition of honey the Federal Government comes up with changes over time or becomes so strict that very few will be able to comply with it. One also may find that everyone with a single hive will be required by law to have a dedicated honey processing facility.
one might also find that the markets have been flooded with green cheese from the moon, but that aint likely either.
 

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On Schumers' website this news release is currently posted. Parts of it read:
"Two days after Schumer exposes Chinese honey laundering, FDA announces seizure of 64 barrels of illegal, contaminated Chinese honey" "contaminated w/ a potent antibiotic".

Chloramphenicol
What year was the article written ? That was the reason Chinese went to ultra filtration what like 10 years ago. We all agree there needs to be some standard of identity for honey . I feel that if you put the words "honey" on the label of your food product then it needs to be pure honey and not bakers blend. This bill is not going to address trans-shipped honey .

As far as the honey loan program of the 80's and early 90's it was price fixing ,and subsidizing the bee industry. Beekeepers would take loans out on the honey for a higher than market value then walk away from the honey. The govt would then sell the honey to packers for a loss keeping prices low. Kinda like whats going on today with crop disaster insurance and beekeepers. Produce honey for a few years , buy ins then do pollination. Use the honey crop to make splits and get a check from the govt. for half your average crop.

My point is if China can meet the pure honey standards ,which they can thru ultra filtration , it can be a possible loop hole to get out of the anti-dumping suit. Honey prices are slowly creeping up ,wouldnt be wise to just leave things alone?
 

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What year was the article written ?

My point is if China can meet the pure honey standards ,which they can thru ultra filtration ,
June 11,2010.

Well, apparently just because China can ultrafilter their honey, according to you, that doesn't mean that they do.

This is now.
 

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I see the article $32,000 dollars for 64 barrels of honey ,thats like $.70 a lb. So if they ultra filtered that or it didn't have the antibiotic you would be ok with that price? I guess its better that $.30lb.
 

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Alpha - Is your idea that knowledge of a violation of law(Tainted honey), with out remedial action to correct said violation, exposes the Sen.Rep to liability for damages incurred by said violation? So they are in trouble not for what they do, but what they did not do?

I have been working on my Rep, with little avail, but this maybe a new tool..

Roland
 
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