Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Market for honey: "honey laundering"

'Honey laundering' beats US tariffs on Chinese food products (I couldn't resist a new criminal activity with such a great name...)

"As the name suggests, honey laundering involves disguising drums of the sticky stuff from China by selling it to a third party—usually a distributor in another part of the world—then re-packaging it and re-exporting it, so that its source remains unknown. ...
As harmless as honey laundering might sound, health officials say that unless something is done, the problem could result in a repeat of the tainted baby milk and pet food scandals that dominated headlines this year—this time with honey. The reason dates back to 1997 when Chinese bee hives were almost wiped out by a bacterial epidemic. Instead of destroying the hives, beekeepers treated them with chloramphenicol, a toxic antibiotic... The practice has since been outlawed by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, but even today, some Chinese honey remains tainted—hence the fact that random checks on shipments are carried out at US ports. "

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