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Hello, Ive got an opportunity to join SueBee. Does anyone have any knowledge of Suebee and weather or not it is a good or bad idea? Any Pros or Cons to becoming a member of SueBee.
 

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Some insight into the people you will be working with.

Sue Bee Vice President Bill Huser said 315 different beekeepers supply 60 percent of the 40 million pounds of honey the Iowa-based company sells each year. The rest is imported.

To protect consumers, Huser said, the company does extensive and elaborate testing on the imported honey, finding shipments laced with chloramphenicol, an illegal antibiotic, about once a month.

When it's found, he said, it's sent back to the broker who imported it.
Won't report it to FDA

That doesn't sit well with some members of the cooperative. Several told the P-I that returning tainted honey to the marketplace is wrong. They said the issue has been raised in recent years, but the company has refused to change its policy.

Bill Allibone, Sue Bee's president, said the company has no intention of telling government regulators about the bad honey it finds.

It's not really Sue Bee's honey, he said, "because technically, it's still (the importer's) property until we pay for it.

"We have not notified the FDA in the past because we don't have title to that property," Allibone said.

"We deal with a core group of suppliers that have long, established ties in the import business, and we're assuming that when we reject a load of honey, they'll return it to the people they purchased it from."

Allibone said he has no idea whether the tainted honey is resold to other U.S. packers. Asked whether the company had an obligation to take action to protect the public health, the president repeated: "It's just not our honey."

Nice bunch of people. I wonder what he would do if he saw someone being raped? Not my wife or daughter, I don't have an obligation to report it. :eek:
 

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I'm not a big fan of chinese honey, but to suggest that the chinese "lace " their honey with chloramphenicol is just plain silly. They may use it prophylactically to protect their hives from bacterial diseases but to suggest they add it afterwards does not make any sense.

Some of the so called tainted chinese honey that got recalled had residue levels of anywhere from 4 to 200 ppb of chloramphenicol. I don't believe that 4 parts per billion poses any health risks for anybody. Would 200 ppb pose a health risk? Maybe, maybe not. Most people don't eat that much honey. Let me illustrate my point:
200 /1 000 000 000 = 200 ppb
In order for a person to get a 1 gram dose of chloramphenicol (that's a typical antibiotic daily dose I think) the person would have to eat 5000 kg or about 11 000 pounds of honey. So even the most enthusiastic honey eater who might eat 1 pound a day would need about 30 years to get that 1 gram dose. The typical american consummer eats 1 pound a year so he would need about 365 times 30 years to get that gram. That about 110 lifetimes based on a 100 year lifespan.

To compare this to rape, come on why is it even being brought up?Let's call it what it is for what it is. It's a trade barrier plain and simple. The Europeans use the same tactics with North American honey. They have a zero tolerance for any antibiotic residue. Producers need to able to protect their livestock and consummers need to able to eat safe foods. Essentially the chinese picked the wrong antibiotic. I've often wondered why this one. Only 2 reasons come to mind, price and effectiveness. Is chloramphenicol that much cheaper to produce compared to other antibiotics? I don't know, seems unlikely but I'm not in the antibiotic manufactoring business. Have other antibiotics that are allowed in the USA, such as oxytetracycline become ineffective in the prevention of bacterial diseases? I wonder and suspect it has become ineffective so the chinese have started using chloramphenicol.

Shold SueBee report this honey to the FDA? I don't know. It's certainly the kind of situation that can easily lead to lines being drawn into the sand and where one has to choose on which side of the line he wants to stand. I'm sure some members a irrate about this situation. No chinese honey in the market higher prices for it's memebers. On the other hand the membership does not produce enough honey. It's definitely not in the interest of Sue Bee corporate officeto rat out it's suppliers unless they want to sever irrevocably that relationship. As a member would I want somebody from head office to call the FDA, probably.

The advantages of a coop are:
1-that you know who is buying your honey, so no need to worry there.
2- You get what you get and you probably don't get the highest prices and you probably don't get the lowest prices. It's likely a price based on the averagew price for that year.
3- You probably have to wait a long time to get that first check, but it will likely not bounce , nor will there be a hold on it. Usually the money is spread out over a year and you might get 3 or 4 payments in a year.

Disadvantages are:
1- Coops often hold back a portion of your payment every year for 10 years so that they have some working capitol to operate with. It's likely the same with Sue Bee. So you might not get paid for 10% of your honey for 10 years. Whne you quit or retire you get that money back but a year later.
2- You might not like some of the marketing strategies or philosophies of the Coop, just like this chloramphenicol issue. You can voice your opinion once a year at the AGM. As an independent operator if you don't like the terms or you don't like the way you are being treated you can always sell your honey elsewhere.

There are pros and cons to being a member, you just need to ask yourself if it suits your needs.

Jean-Marc
 

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I have reason to believe that chloramphenicol is exceedingly cheap. I had heard that a human dose was less than a dollar. I may be wrong. Would the honey be rejected if it was found to contain traces of teramycin, an approved anti-biotic?

The bottom line is , where do you want to hang your hat? I try to avoid guilt by association. If you sell you honey to a place that is highly suspected of blending in "funny honey" because it is cheaper, what do you think a retail customer will think of your honey? It is all "Your" honey.

Maybe their members would be able to make enough honey for them if they where payed what real honey is worth. By exposing the "funny honey" for what is is, the market for it would disappear, and prices would rise , allowing the members to invest the surplus in equipment and bees for expansion.

It is your decision, chose which bed you wish to lay in.


Roland

P.S. Where is Sutton when you need him.
 

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I'm here Roland...been extracting!! I have posted this before...but here we go. Lets use Dutch gold for example. You sell your honey to them...you get paid inusually 2 weeks to 30 days. You know what you are going to get when you put it one the truck! (most packers are simular in payment). You furnish your barrells and get a credit. You have your money within a month. Now you produce 100,000 lbs year lets say. At 1.50 lb ave thats 150,000. Now you sell to SUe(i got alot of other choice names) You load your honey in the barrells they furnish(nice) and load on truck. You get paid over the next year with final payment about one yr after delivery. Now interest is very low...but lets say over the long haul you could have gotten 5%...or your loan is 6%...gotta pay interest on that money you dont have...and you dont know what you will get yet...what if price starts dropping? What if sue decides to try to get sales up and has a sale on bears for .83 cents for 12 oz bear like they did 10 yrs ago...drove market south fast. So lets say you are lucky and get same amount ( doubt this happens often) 150,000 less your 10% you have 135,000. 15,000 of your capitol GONE with NO return! so lets ave your proceeds over the year...5% interest on 135,000 for 6 months is 3,375 dollars in interest you paid if you have a loan you are paying 5% on when they had your dollars PLUS the 15,000 they kept as operating capitol and the interest on it! After 10 years they have 150,000 dollars OF YOUR money that you could have purchased equipment, paid off debt or whatever PLUS all the interest you lost on waiting for payment. If you dont have a loan you could draw interest and on averge at least 5% in the long haul but now at 1% is still money!... So over the first 10 years you a out 33,750 dollars in interest paid while the have your money plus the 150,000 for a total of 185,000 dllars they have had INTEREST FREE of your money!!! I believe anyone who joins sue either is very poor at math(like I am at spelling), or never sits down and looks at what they are loosing. RUN RUN RUN unless you need to make less money! Now one other thing Sue says they dont buy chinese...well they are finding chlorophenicol...chinese...so after you find it once would you buy from that guy again. Read the articles in seattle times on honey laundering...If I remember right reporter traced honey from china to third world country to US border to sue....if he can THEY could have if they wanted to!!!! A coop should benefit the members..I dare say the founding members NEVER intended for sue to be like they are today. I would NEVER consider joining them!
 

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i agree. why would you not want to use the option of negotiating a price for something you worked so hard for. if i want to take the chance and hold my honey till next spring hoping for a better price that is what i will do. some one at sue bee is getting rich and its not the beeks.
 

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.........I don't believe that 4 parts per billion poses any health risks for anybody. Would 200 ppb pose a health risk?
The most serious risk to the use of Chloramphenicol is that some people react by developing a condition known as aplastic anemia, which is idiosyncratic (rare, unpredictable, and unrelated to dose) and generally fatal. So you are wrong to assume that such a low dose does not pose a health risk for anyone, even though this condition is rare the reaction is very unpredictable so in that sense everyone is at risk, how can you justify a position of tolerance with this type of known side effect? So you see, a comparison to rape is not really all that unreasonable. The FDA's zero tolerance policy is the only choice. This is the very reason that the use of this antibiotic at any dosage and for any purpose is banned in this country. Undoubtedly the folks at SueBee are not ignorant to these facts, and simply choose to value their profits and business relationships above the value of human life (a position all too common these days in the corporate world). I could not in good conscience be associated with such an organization.
 

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The analogy that came to mind when I first read the PI article last year was if Bill Allibone found a bag of crack on his doorstep, would he give it back to the local dealer because, technically, it doesn't belong to him?

Wayne
 

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Sutton is telling it right. The Co-op today is not what it was designed to be. I think it is plan greed on suebee's part. It is a shame that suebee isn't spending money to help the beekeepers find out what is going on with the bees in this country. But when you buy honey from China i guess you dont have to worry about what is happening here in the USA. Most big packers in this country dont care where they get the honey as long as they can buy it cheap.
 

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I respect the opinions Im hearing, but I know sue members on here, and I don't exactly hear them coming out the woodwork to say anything. I do remember the first check is larger and can cover operating expenses. And its nice if you have like 5 semi loads to unload. oh well. :ws
 

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It was a good business decision for us to join. We don't have to borrow as much money to operate on as we used to. Things run a lot smoother knowing how much and when the moneys coming.
Does anyone ever wonder why Suebee is the only one rejecting tainted honey? Could it be we are the only ones having it tested?
There is funny honey being produced by a large scale packer (not Suebee) right here in the U.S. Its not illegal but is it right?
 

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Nick..do your math andsee what its costing you. Yea its great to have those barrells but Ill bet you that if you call Dutch Gold, Golden Heritage(both test your honey and reject if not up to standard) along with a couple of more. Get their price for the next five yrs. Then take what sue pays you...DEDUCT all that interest you lost or paid on money that they dont pay you for 6 months or a year and the 10% they retain for capitol. HOw much could you buy or pay off with 10% of your GROSS,,,,thats a high percentage of your crop profit. I'll bet that over the next 5 years you will loose at least 10 cents a lb or 4,000 a semi load in profits. I'll be your broker for 50% of what I can gain you! Easiest money I'll ever make! Dont think youve really looked at it close. ANd explain to me how you how you have had to borrow to less operate when they are keeping 10% of your money and you get NO return...its a loan to sue with NO interest paid and if they go bankrupt you will LOOSE IT! I can t spell but I can do math! If you produce loads a year thats 200,000 dollars of your money that sue has aftr 10 years YOUR MONEY. If you only produce one load )40,000 lbs x 1.60 lb =64,000 x 10 % = 6,400 dollars a year for 10 years is 64,000 intrest free loan sue has after 10 years plus the interest you lost when they didnt pay you all of your money within 30 days of delivery....geez I think I need to be broker! After all my work thru the year I wnt give anyone 10% of my gross! I'm Trying to be mean or hateful I just dont understand your post as it doesnt make sence!
 

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I'll BET Golden Hearitage and Dutch Gold run a cleaner ship than sue! They both test your honey and will refuse it if it has antibotics or isnt pure otherwise. If sue is finding chloramphenicol then they KNOW they are getting honey from china! It is illegal to produce funny honey( I know who you are talking about) Hopefully the honey standard will stop alot of funny honey as beekeepers can collect(sue) damages from loss resulting from illegal selling of adulterated(funny honey). There are things I've been told about sue from VERY reliable sources and dont you think they know its from china if it has chloramphenicol and THEN you give it back to them to put back in the food chain, WOW what ethics!!! I wouldnt trust sue as far as I could throw a feather aganist the wind!
 

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Glad we heard from a member! I don't think theres any reason to argue where the honey comes from, or any of that. you have to look at markets. These people want cheap crappy honey they buy it. Sue has some good and some crap honey, ive tried some of both, the price was relfected in it. Mine tastes great, I sell out. Business is good, sue dosen't affect my market, I have 75% return customers. I always knew the market here was near infinite.
 
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