CATCH THE BUZZ – HSI CHICAGO SEIZES NEARLY 60 TONS OF HONEY ILLEGALLY IMPORTED FROM CHINA, AGAIN!!!

“Food fraud is a growing epidemic across all types of products,” said James M. Gibbons, special agent in charge for HSI Chicago.  “From seafood to vintage wines to honey, food products with any economic value are being intentionally adulterated, smuggled, or simply misrepresented by knowing participants to maximize profits. Protecting the American consumer from smuggled and potentially unsafe imported food is one of HSI’s enforcement priorities.”

CHICAGO — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) again seized nearly 60 tons of illegally imported Chinese honey Wednesday that was destined for U.S. consumers.

The smuggled honey was contained in 195 55-gallon drums that were falsely declared as originating from, where else, Vietnam, to evade anti-dumping duties applicable to Chinese-origin honey.

The honey likely originated from the same exporter in Vietnam as another 60 tons of honey that was seized by HSI Chicago in the Midwest in April. Wednesday’s seizure was allegedly imported into the United States by a shell importer of record in New York, New York. Agents located the honey by combing through transportation shipping records to piece together its whereabouts.

Prior to seizing the smuggled honey, HSI sent samples to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Laboratory for analysis, where it was determined that the honey had a greater than 99 percent probability match with honey from China. Similar to the April seizure, Wednesday’s seizure was accompanied by altered reports from a private laboratory with analyses completely unrelated to the seized honey. The private laboratory fully cooperated with HSI and is considered a victim of identity theft.

 

“Food fraud is a growing epidemic across all types of products,” said James M. Gibbons, special agent in charge for HSI Chicago.  “From seafood to vintage wines to honey, food products with any economic value are being intentionally adulterated, smuggled, or simply misrepresented by knowing participants to maximize profits. Protecting the American consumer from smuggled and potentially unsafe imported food is one of HSI’s enforcement priorities.”

With assistance from CBP Chicago, HSI seized the illicit honey June 29 from a warehouse in suburban Chicago.  The seized honey will be destroyed in its entirety following its successful forfeiture at the conclusion of the government’s ongoing investigation.

HSI has stepped up its efforts regarding commercial fraud investigations that focus on U.S. economic, and health and safety interests. These anti-dumping criminal schemes create a divergent market that negatively affects legitimate businesses. In the case of honey, the United States relies on legitimately imported foreign-origin honey to meet the demand in the foodservice and commercial baking sectors; but that honey must be lawfully sourced from reputable buyers and sellers.

With the recent enactment of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA), Congress recognized that industries and companies that circumvent U.S. law and regulation remain a risk to this nation’s economic security.  Among its provisions, TFTEA requires ICE and CBP to collaborate to enhance trade enforcement, with specific emphasis on honey illegally imported into the United States in violation of U.S. customs and trade laws.

In December 2001, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed anti-dumping duties after determining that Chinese-origin honey was being sold in the United States at less than fair-market value. The duties first imposed were as high as 221 percent of the declared value. Later these duties were assessed against the entered net weight, currently at $2.63 per net kilogram, in addition to a “honey assessment fee” of 1.5¢ per pound on all honey.

In 2008, federal authorities in Chicago began investigating allegations of organizations circumventing anti-dumping duties through illegal imports, including transshipment and mislabeling, on the “supply side” of the honey industry. The second phase of the investigation involved the illegal buying, processing and trading of honey that illegally entered the U.S. on the “demand side” of the industry.  In these multi-year investigations, HSI Chicago and the Department of Justice together convicted nine individuals (not including 10 remaining foreign fugitives) in a series of global schemes which evaded nearly $260 million in anti-dumping duties on honey from China, and which also involved honey containing antibiotics prohibited in food.

Source: Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping

Going Against The Flow: Is The Flow Hive a Good Idea?

It’s fab, it’s new, and the honey flows straight into the jar. It’s so easy. But then, powdered instant potato is easy, too. Does that make it a good idea?

Despite my mission to focus on positivistic messages of change, at Milkwood we’ve got a charter of calling it like we see it.

And to call yet another plastic beehive addition which does not benefit the bees but only the beekeeper… what it is.

We’ve seen a lot (like, a LOT) of media about the Flow Hive ™ in this last week and after a few hundred questions about what we think of it, we thought we’d spell it out.

The basic innards of the Flow Hive™ system seem to be sets of plastic half-built comb, which face each other, and which the bees then finish off and connect up, fill with honey, and cap.

Then, when the beekeeper is ready, they turn a key, the two plastic hive foundations crack apart, the honey flows out down a channel and out a spout, into the jars provided below.

Is it good for the backyard beekeeper looking for a trophy moment? Heck yeah. The effect of the honey drizzling out looks great, and has caught imaginations world-wide.

SAVE THE BEES. Because anything (like, anything) that has to do with bees, or that uses bees, is good for the bees. Right?

Actually, no. Not so much.

Bees want to build their own wax comb. It’s part of the bee superoganism. The wax is literally built from their bodies.

The comb is the bee’s home, their communication system (which doesn’t work nearly as well if it’s made from plastic rather than bee-drawn wax, as discussed in Tautz), and functions as a central organ.

The comb is the bee’s womb – it’s where they raise their brood.

And given a choice, bees do not want a pre-built plastic womb, home or larder, any more than we would.

It’s the birthright of bees to build comb.

 

 

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Wild bees are least abundant where they're most needed, study says

Bees are an integral part of California's nearly $3–billion–a–year almond industry.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

By Geoffrey MohanContact Reporter

"We are a state with a huge dependence on pollination. We have very intensive agriculture, which has challenged our wild bee pollination a lot," said UC Davis entomologist Neal Williams, one of the authors of the study.

Increased gaps elsewhere in the nation came from a greater rise in acreage dedicated to crops that are only moderately dependent on pollination, such as soybeans, cotton, canola and sunflower, the researchers said.

Some almond growers have begun to take notice, adding wild bees to their pollination plan and restoring native vegetation. Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, formerly known as Paramount Farms, will use blue orchard bees this year during pollination season, for example. 

The effort is part of a national campaign to diversify the way crops are pollinated, Williams said.

"Where there are wild bees present, even modest numbers of wild bees can make the honey bee a better pollinator of almonds," Williams said. "It changes the behavior of the honey bees. For some reason … the wild bees cause the honey bees to move more between varieties. So they’re essentially transporting better pollen.”

Bye Honey

Why is Honey Expensive?

From 2001 to 2011, total annual honey production by bees in the United States fell one-third, from 221 million to 148 million pounds. In the same period, use of the three most common neonicotinoid pesticides grew from 280,000 to more than 4.5 million pounds domestically.

BUZZ KILL

As corn yields rise, bees are dying worldwide
BY PATRICK J. KIGER

Not that long ago, third-generation commercial beekeeper Jim Doan was a prosperous man. He maintained as many as 5,300 hives on his farm in western New York. In addition to selling honey, he earned a good living renting out the services of his honeybees to pollinate crops such as butternut squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, and apples. 

But around 2006, Doan noticed that something was wrong with his bees. Whole colonies were simply disappearing, leaving behind empty hives. And in those colonies that remained in Doan's hives, the numbers were down, and they weren't making as much honey. He began losing half of his bees every year--something that he'd never seen in more than 40 years of beekeeping.