Honey Laundering

Sleazy Squeezy1
Sleazy Squeezy

The Honey Launderers: Uncovering the Largest Food Fraud in U.S. History

Honey has a feel-good factor. Not surprising, really: it enjoys a pretty good press. But nothing is more undermining of the common sense of human beings than being exposed to an overwhelmingly positive consensus. Bees, honey and beekeeping now luxuriate in the inner sanctum of unanimous approval. So let’s start by sharpening our critical faculties with a little exercise.

Take one of those squeezy plastic honey-jars on a supermarket shelf. Then contemplate the rubric on the label which describes the honey’s provenance as: “A blend of EU and non-EU honeys“. You don’t have to have a degree in English Literature to figure out that this means: “Honey from anywhere on earth“. Perhaps we ought to be grateful that it is at least terrestrial honey (or else the label would have to say “A blend of honeys from EU and non-EU planets“, wouldn’t it ?). One heck of a good reason to buy local honey, I’d say.

And if you enjoyed the sting in the tail of that little exposition, you will surely appreciate this tale of a sting by U.S. Homeland Security, known as “Project Honeygate“. This link to Susan Berfield’s extensive article The Honey Launderers forensically exposes the largest food fraud in U.S. history – and it’s all about honey. And money, of course…..

ps: Groeb Farms, the organisation at the centre of this story, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. A reorganization plan in the works which will see $27 million of debt being forgiven and a Texas private equity firm assuming control. That’s all right, then.

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