Honey, What's Going On with the Honey?

Honey, what's going on with the honey?

If you're a beekeeper, a food retailer, in honey production or just want to know more about honey adulteration and food authenticity and what you can do about it, this one's for you.

An online Honey Adulteration Symposium, hosted by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and featuring keynote speaker Michael T. Roberts of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law, will take place Thursday, April 22 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. 

Registration for the 2.5-hour symposium ($30 per ticket) is underway here. The last day to register is April 18.

Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, said the symposium is an opportunity "to learn how honey adulteration affects our food system and an opportunity to take action.  Honey is the world's third most adulterated food, right after milk and olive oil." 

The symposium, she said, is geared toward "educating specialty food retailers who actively educate their consumers."  Presenters will address issues of pollination, economic adulteration and threats to beekeeping. A panel of specialty food retailers will discuss how they source and select products and educate and inspire their customers. 

Roberts will focus on "understanding how honey adulteration affects beekeepers, honey production and, in the largest sense, our food system," Harris noted. Roberts, founding executive director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy, is described as a "thought leader in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems." He has presented papers to the United Nations, the U.S. Government, and researched extensively on food fraud, including honey adulteration. Roberts taught the first food law and policy course in the United States in 2004 and was a leading force in the development in 2005 of the Journal of Food Law and Policy, a publication devoted exclusively to the field.

According to his website: "Roberts entered the field of food law when, in 2000, he left his law practice and enrolled in the LL.M. program on agricultural law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, the only such program in the U.S. Since then, Roberts has engaged in a variety of professional capacities related to food law and policy. A few years after completing the LL.M. program, he was invited to join the University of Arkansas School of Law as a Research Professor of Law and as the Director of the National Agricultural Law Center. Roberts has broad experience in practicing food law, including being of counsel in Washington D.C. with Venable LLP, as a member of the firm's food and agricultural law practice group. He was also a visiting scholar and consultant to the FAO in Rome."

Roberts teaches two courses at UCLA Law: "Introduction to Food Law and Policy" (for second- and third-year law students) and "Emerging Scholarship in International Food Law" (a "modes" class for first-year law students). He has also been instrumental in the organization of a UCLA food studies certificate graduate program and was the co-instructor of the program's Introduction to Food Studies course.

The Resnick Center performs cutting-edge legal research and scholarship in food law and policy to improve health and quality of life for humans and the planet, according to its website.

Also, at the UC Davis symposium, five retailers will discuss the ways they educate their customers. The speakers are:

Among the other speakers will be Chris Hiatt, vice president, American Honey Producers Association, and a third-generation beekeeper at Hiatt Honey, Madera, Calif., who will share his insights.

Lead sponsor is Nature's Nate, but other sponsors are needed, Harris said. She may be contacted at aharris@ucdavis.edu for more information.

The Honey and Pollination Center, affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.