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CATCH THE BUZZ – SENSORY TRAINING IN HONEY BY THE AMERICAN HONEY TASTING SOCIETY

WESTON, CONNECTICUT, July 10, 2016 — The American Honey Tasting Society (AHTS) is launching three more Honey 101: Introduction to Honey Tasting training course using the Italian methods for sensory analysis on October 22-23, 25-26 and 29-30, 2016 in Connecticut and Boston. Beekeeper and author C. Marina Marchese will be leading the course with colleague Raffaele Dall’ Olio, both members trained by the Italian National Registry of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey. Theses courses are intensive, full immersion training into the sensory analysis of honey based upon the established methods taught at the Italian National Beekeeping Institute (CRA-API) in Bologna, Italy for more than 20 years. Attendees will learn the methods for tasting and evaluating honey through engaging in the olfactory and gustatory experience, how to recognize and identify the 9 basic aromas and flavor families on the honey wheel also how to write detailed tasting notes for 15 of the most important domestic and international honeys. The course will also cover the basics of honey composition, crystallization, defects, storage and handling. Seats are limited and fifteen students are required for this course to run, travel, food and accommodations are not included. C. Marina Marchese, the first American and only resident accepted into the Italian National Registry of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey, formally launched the American Honey Tasting Society (AHTS) in 2013.   With the growing number people keeping honeybees and interested in the diverse flavor profiles of varietal honey, this newly launched organization fulfills a true need in America for an educational resource for beekeepers, chefs, food professionals, brewers and mead makers interested in learning the fine skills of tasting and evaluating honey in order to choose the best honey for food and beverage pairings.

The American Honey Tasting Society’s mission is to standardize the protocol for sensory training in honey and to raise the awareness of its diversity through educational courses and guided tastings. “The American Honey Tasting Society is the first organization of it’s kind in the United States that provides educational insight into the finer points of identifying the flavors in honey and matching them with their floral source and region,” says Marchese. “There are many honey enthusiasts, but there are no resources in our country that provide accurate and in-depth education or sensory training in honey which includes its color, aroma, and flavor which are determined by its nectar source, terroir and beekeeping traditions. The art of being a honey tasting expert is as complex as being a wine sommelier and both food industry professionals and those in beekeeping are seeking this knowledge and experience.”

For additional information about the sensory training courses in honey: Visit: www.americanhoneytastingsociety.com

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