andrew schneider investigates

January 26, 2009

Widespread concealment of tainted imported honey

Filed under: Food - good, bad, weird,Food poisoning,Food Safety,Risks to children — Andrew Schneider @ 16:40

<![CDATA[Yes, I wrote yet another story on honey laundering.

Given the multiple crises we face, the fact that money-grubbing business people here and in China are shipping and importing honey that’s erroneously labeled and may contain illegal antibiotics probably isn’t at the top of your must-do list for our new president.

I agree.

The banned drugs that the Chinese added to kill the epidemic that was decimating millions of their bee hives will only harm a very small number of the people who eat it. But many of the phone calls and e-mail I received today in reaction to the story, said it’s important if your child or loved one is among that small number who are sensitive to the animal medication.

In today’s story, I wrote about the National Honey Board and Sue Bee Associates, the nation’s largest honey seller, having knowledge of the presence of tainted honey and not seeing the need or value of telling federal health inspectors about it. In the case of the quasi-governmental honey board, its CEO was told about contaminated honey on grocery shelves and he said he didn’t notify health authorities because it wasn’t his job.

After today’s phone calls, I can add three companies who allegedly shipped bad honey back to their supplier with the knowledge that the loads would be resold to other U.S. honey packers.

Two of the people who supplied this information say that they felt that nothing would happen unless and until some really bad honey made it though our porous borders and lots of people either got sick or died.

I guess that’s why I write about honey and other potential hazards that are low on the government’s crisis list.

And to the gaggle of you who ask if I don’t have more important public health investigations to chase before the owners close this newspaper down in 40-something days, the answer is yes.

I crank out what I can, and I’ll keep doing it until they toss us all out.

For those who care, here’s a link to all the honey stories.

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