A group of U.S. honey producers and importers are working together to certify the origin and purity of the honey sold to American consumers, according to an Associated Press article that moved on the wire last week.
The new initiative - True Source Honey - aims to stop the flow of illegally sourced honey from coming into the country. Reporter Olivia Muñoz cited UC Davis Cooperative Extension bee specialist Eric Mussen in the article. Mussen said large tariffs are in place for honey from China because the country had been dumping low-cost honey into the U.S., shutting out domestic producers.
"Honey was coming in from China at 35 cents a pound, and American producers were having to sell their honey at a loss, not even covering their costs," Mussen was quoted.
After the government intervened, honey coming from other countries began raising concerns.
"It was coming in from places like Thailand, too tropical to produce the type of honey coming in or that don't even have enough bee colonies to produce the amount of honey being imported," Mussen said.
U.S. officials determined that a honey surplus from China was being routed through South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and other countries that didn't face the same duties.
True Source Honey plans to certify honey's country of origin following a third-party audit that will cost honey packers and exporters $2,000 to $4,000 per year. U.S. beekeepers will not be subject to the audit.
The story was picked up widely in the media, including:
The Fairfield Daily Republic ran a full-page spread in its Jan. 2 edition.