Americans consume more honey than anyone else in the world. But what if I told you that the liquid, gold-filled plastic bear you’ve been squeezing into your tea contains antibiotics, pesticides, and/or corn syrup? Or that the honey part in coated oats isn’t that cheery after all because it’s mislabeled, filtered, and filled with sugar? What if I told you there’s a good chance you’ve never really tasted real pure raw honey. Would you believe me?
While researching and producing Vanishing of the Bees, I learned from a beekeeper by the name of Billy Rhodes that a Florida-based honey company stored their fake mislabeled honey from China in plain site. And once we traveled to the swamp lands, he snuck us onto the property to film.
“Ah, that is the blend, that’s the fake honey. They all say ‘Product of China’ on there. Yea product of China, but it’s coming in as some ridiculous assessed value where there’s no duties on it,” he exclaimed while we filmed. “But it cleared the value at 18 cents a pound. And people—customs let ’em do it. Hell, there ain’t no honey at 18 cents a pound. You can’t even buy water at 18 cents a pound, you can’t do anything. This guy just been doing it for years, and destroying the whole industry.”
When I wrote about it on my blog, the company threatened to sue me. That was in 2008. Two years later, another company went to great lengths to sneak in tainted honey and was found guilty of “a sprawling $80 million food fraud, the largest in U.S. history.”
To read more about this haunting tale of honey corruption, go here.
Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.
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