Andrew Schneider of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer spent five months investigating “honey laundering,” the practice of smuggling Chinese honey into the United States via intermediary countries like Vietnam and Russia to avoid heavy tariffs. The laundered honey may contain the toxic antibiotic chloramphenicol and other antibiotics or even be adulterated with corn or cane sugar.
Schneider also reveals that labels like “Organic,” “Grade-A” and “100% Pure” are neither standardized nor enforced, and don’t always provide meaningful guidance. Honey grown in the United States is seldom truly organic, even if advertised as such, Schneider says. This is because beekeepers can only control the hive and immediate environs, while bees forage in a much larger area where they may encounter pesticides and toxins.