GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (February 25, 2014) — “I aloof take, apparently a little dosage like this,” said Ying Woellhaf of Whitehall, as she afflicted her tea.
Ying and bedmate Raymond ability for their honey jar aback they appetite article sweet. “We try to use honey as abundant as accessible against aesthetic sugar,” said Ying.
But, generally the labels on that honey you’re affairs may not be cogent you the accomplished story. “This one absolutely says apery honey,” said Ying, attractive over a all-encompassing attractive honey buck canteen at the store.
A honey bottling aggregation headquartered in Onsted, Mich., was afresh fined by the federal government for affairs transshipped, mislabeled Chinese honey during a federal assay that was alleged “Operation Honeygate.” Groeb Farms, now alleged Natural American Foods, paid a $2 actor fine.
The aggregation said the admiral amenable were no best with the company.
However, abounding bounded West Michigan beekeepers say the case credibility to a beyond problem. Research at Texas A&M University shows that best honey labels aren’t cogent the truth, and 75% of the honey in the U.S. is not what it says it is on the label. And this could administer to as abundant as 90% of the nation’s honey, according to advance federal honey investigator.
That’s area Dr. Vaughn Bryant comes into the picture.
He grew up in Holland, Mich., and now he works as an anthropology assistant at Texas A&M. He’s additionally accepted as the “honey detective.”
Dr. Bryant says pollen is so altered in all the altered plants worldwide, it can be acclimated as a fingerprint. In his lab, he can bare a honey’s altered “pollen print,” which reveals area it’s from.
Bryant keeps an astronomic library of pollen in the lab to analyze with others and break the abstruseness of a honey’s source. “We accept 20,000 altered types,” he said.
“When we attending at a honey sample and we acquisition assertive kinds of plants, like say approach trees, we apperceive we’re ambidextrous in the tropics,” said Bryant.
FOX 17 capital to apperceive area some of the honey that sits on your West Michigan grocery abundance shelves comes from, because sometimes the labels aloof aren’t that clear, according to Bryant. So, we took some samples and and beatific them to Texas A&M University. Our bristles samples included a canteen from the aggregation aforetime accepted as Groeb Farms, Honey Tree’s Michigan Great Lakes Raw Honey, Amoebic Rainforest honey, additional a Meijer cast and a Spartan brand.
“Most of them were not what they claimed to be,” said Bryant.
First, he looked at the honey bottled from the aggregation aforetime accepted as Groeb Farms. They were ahead fined for mislabeling Chinese honey. The characterization on this accurate canteen said “Pure Honey Clover.” Although Dr. Bryant said the sample wasn’t from China, he said there was still a botheration with the label. “It angry out not to be clover honey.”
There was “not abundant clover pollen to accreditation the honey actuality alleged a unifloral clover honey,” his address said. The added annual pollens begin in the honey included “soybeans, nut, mesquite, and eucalyptus.”
“A little bit of clover pollen in here,” said Vaughn. “But it would not authorize as clover pollen. So here’s the case area it’s awash as authentic clover honey, but it’s absolutely not.”
Onto jar cardinal two, a jar labeled Great Lakes Raw Michigan Honey. This honey appeared abundant added accurate to anatomy according to Dr. Bryant’s analysis. He said there was “sumac” pollen in this sample, which grows frequently in the state. “It could able-bodied be from Michigan,” said Bryant. However, a few added apprehensive pollens were discovered, too, which could announce there was added honey alloyed in from southern regions, or it could artlessly beggarly that the pollen accidentally got in there some added way. Bryant’s address showed pollen from citrus: lemon, orange, sweetgum, mesquite, eucalyptus and magnolia.
“Those could accept been contagion from some added source,” said Bryant. “Or, they could accept been allotment of a mixture. It’s adamantine to tell.”
Chris Olney, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Honey Tree said that the pollen from southern regions acceptable came from hives that were acclimated in Florida, again brought to Michigan. He said 50% of the hives are transported by beekeepers to southern regions like Florida to blend citrus crops, again they are brought aback to Michigan to blend crops actuality in the summer.
Now on to sample 3, which was labeled Amoebic Rainforest honey. “We don’t apperceive what it is,” said Bryant.
The characterization had the abridgement “BR” on the back, which stands for Brazil. However, Bryant couldn’t prove it came from rainforest flowers. It came aback from testing as a catechism mark, because addition had artificial all the pollen out. “We accept no abstraction whether it’s organic,” said Bryant. “We accept no abstraction whether it’s from the rainforest or annihilation else.”
Sample 4, the Meijer Authentic Clover honey, had stamps for USA, Canada, and Argentina on the label, but for Bryant, it charcoal a catechism mark because, according to the test, “all of the pollen has been removed.”
Sample 5, the Spartan exceptional aureate honey had the arrangement of “AR” and “CA” formed on the back. AR stands for Argentina according to country cipher listings, and CA stands for Canada. However, Bryant couldn’t prove area this sample was from either country. “One absolutely could not prove that the capacity of this honey is what is claimed on the label.”
We can’t say for abiding what’s accident with our samples.
Bryant credibility out in accomplished cases of actionable honey shipping, arrant honey dealers accept filtered out the pollen on purpose so illegally alien honey can appear into the country untraceable to its source.
“The United States does not accept any affecting labeling laws,” said Bryant.
Some alone states accept fabricated their own stricter labeling laws, but the Michigan Department of Agriculture says, “Michigan does not accept specific labeling requirements for area honey comes from.”
The honey abstruseness can additionally absorb added foods that use honey, such as cereal. We approved to acquisition out if Battle Creek-based Kellogg’s uses adopted or calm sourced honey, but they wouldn’t acknowledge any information. They alone said, “Details of our accumulation alternation are confidential.”
“What we absolutely charge to do is get our federal government to alpha policing this accomplished thing,” said Bryant.
Meanwhile, Ying Woellhaf feels the best advantage for now is to buy from a bounded beekeeper, an absolute being that you can alarm on the buzz and conceivably alike appointment their hives. “This one is absolutely appropriate from Ludington,” Ying said of her admired brand. “It’s consistently acute to apperceive what you’re agriculture yourself and your kids.”
A barter bill in the U.S. Senate, 662, would advice the government bigger badge honey advancing into the country, but it is still in the accounts committee, .
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow sits on that committee. FOX 17 put a alarm into her appointment to see if she is acknowledging the legislation. No official chat aback as of newstime Tuesday.
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