You’re at the grocery store, on the honey aisle. Being an educated consumer and devotee of this blog, you know that honey is good for you in so many different ways. It has minimal effect on your blood sugar. It may alleviate your allergies. It is clearly delicious and your children will eat it and beg for more honey instead of more plastic-y “fruit” snacks. Its purchase helps support the honeybee, the very backbone of agriculture. It is estimated that one in every three bites of food you eat are directly traceable to pollinators, so many of which are honeybees.
So there you stand, looking at the different labels, the different containers of honey. Do you want a bear, a bucket, a fabulous flip top squeeze container with a no-drip vacuum seal? Perhaps, if you’ve become a honey snob (our favorite kind of person), you examine the color and clarity of the honey, and you give some thought to the honey producer’s location …. hmmmm, near Babb, Montana? Delicious alfalfa and sweet clover nectar sources! But in these economic times, I know you’re also looking at the store’s price sticker, trying to determine how to get the most bang for your buck. And my friend, I do not blame you. I’ve become a Coupon Queen, a Comparison Shopper, a Recessionista myself. But I do believe that eating well is much cheaper in the long run than a wrecked body.
However, I don’t want you buying what’s generally the cheapest honey on the shelf, often generically labeled “Grade A,” with precious little identifying information. I want you to buy your honey from an actual beekeeper or reputable honey packer who labels his honey with its place of origin. Of course, I have a vested interest in you buying Glacier County Honey, as it pays my light bill and keeps me in pretty shoes and the dogs in puppy chow, but really, I just want you to make sure that when you purchase honey, you are not contributing to the Chinese honey laundering epidemic.
In a nutshell, Chinese beekeepers trying to get around stiff US levies on cheap Chinese honey are shipping their honey off to places like Venezuela, changing the country of origin on the label, and getting this honey into the US on the sly. Why do you care? Because China doesn’t care how its beekeepers keep their bees and as a result Chinese honey is often loaded with antibiotics and other ickiness. I’ve heard of honey inspectors finding 55g drums of Chinese honey mixed with high fructose corn syrup, to make the honey go further. Gross. And certainly not what you’re looking for when you’re standing in front of the honey shelf at the grocery store, no? But of course, using dangerous antibiotics on your bees and adding syrup to your honey are both easy ways to make the price per pound of Chinese honey far cheaper than American honey.
So, if you’re buying honey, please support the U.S. honey industry, and not China. Haven’t we given them enough of our money? And haven’t they consistently repaid us with products that our dangerous to our health, and our children’s? I say yes.
This has been your occasional public service announcement from the woman who extracted over 125,000lbs of honey on her honeymoon. From where I’m standing, we are giving it away!
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