Honey

Product Uses

Food Uses (2015) 1

The main use of honey is as an ingredient in cooking and baking. It can be used in desserts, breads, dressings and sauces, beverages, and glazes. Honey can also be used as a sweetener in beverages such as tea, and as a spread on bread.

Non-Food Uses (2014) 2

Honey has many uses outside of food. In laboratory tests, honey has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on bacteria and some species of fungi and viruses. It can be applied to wounds to accelerate the healing process and prevent bacterial growth. Honey can also be used to alleviate allergy and cold symptoms. Honey also contains antioxidants. Honey can also be used cosmetically in lip balms, skin moisturizers, and face masks.

Food Product Codes

FDA Industry Code and General Industry Description 3

FDA Industry Code Description of Product
36 Honey

HTS code(s) 4

HTS Code Description of Product
0409000005 Natural honey, certified organic
0409000010 Comb honey and honey packaged for retail sale, other than certified organic
0409000035 Natural honey, white or lighter, other than certified organic, not packaged for retail sale
0409000045 Natural honey, extra light amber, other than certified organic, not packaged for retail sale
0409000056 Natural honey, light amber, other than certified organic, not packaged for retail sale
0409000065 Natural honey, amber or darker, other than certified organic, not packaged for retail sale
2106909888 Food Preparations Not Elsewhere Specified Or Included, Flavored Honey
0409000025 Comb Honey And Honey Packaged For Retail Sale
0409000055 Honey, Natural, Nesoi

USDA NDB code(s) 5

USDA NDB Code Description of Product
19296 Honey

Standards and Grades

CODEX Standards 6

CODEX STAN 12-1981

FDA Standard of Identity 7

No FDA Standard of Identity was located for this food product.

USDA Grades 8

Grades of Extracted Honey:

1. U.S. Grade A is the quality of extracted honey that meets the applicable requirements of Table IV or V, and has a minimum total score of 90 points.

2. U.S. Grade B is the quality of extracted honey that meets the applicable requirements of Table IV or V, and has a minimum total score of 80 points.

3. U.S. Grade C is the quality of extracted honey that meets the applicable requirements of Table IV or V, and has a minimum total score of 70 points.

4. Substandard is the quality of extracted honey that fails to meet the requirements of U.S. Grade C.

Consumption, Production and Trade

Estimated Consumption of Honey in the United States per capita 2004 - 2014 9

Annual Value of Honey Production in the United States (2014) 10

Annual Quantity of Honey Produced in the United States (2014) 10

United States Import Patterns (2015) 11

U.S. honey imports peak in May and increase by about 50% on average April through August, compared with September through March. Over the past five years, Argentina, Vietnam, India, and Brazil have been top exporters of honey to the U.S. The top import partner has tended to fluctuate throughout the year in the past few years. In recent years, either India or Argentina is main source of honey imports in the spring, while Vietnam tends to be the top country from which the U.S. imports honey in the summer and winter months.

Monthly Imports of Honey into the United States 11

Data pulled using FAS category "Honey".

US Imports and Exports by Value (2014) 11

Data pulled using FAS category "Honey".

US Imports and Exports by Quantity (2014) 11

Data pulled using FAS category "Honey".

Top 5 Producing Countries of Honey (2013) 12

Country Metric Tons
China, mainland 450,300
Turkey 94,694
Argentina 80,000
Ukraine 73,713
Russian Federation 68,446

Top 5 Exporting Countries of Honey (2011) 12

Country Metric Tons
China, mainland 124,901
Argentina 65,180
Viet Nam 34,924
Mexico 33,458
India 30,099

Historic Global Production of Honey 12

Historic Global Value of Honey (2012) 12

Active anti-dumping/countervailing duties (2015) 13

Based on the list of antidumping and countervailing duty orders current as of April 12, 2017, there is an active antidumping duty for honey imported from China. The federal register number is 77 FR 74173, and was ordered on December 10, 2001.

Processing and Supply Chain Characteristics

Seasonality Profile (1990) 14

In temperate regions, bees swarm, or form a colony to begin making honey, once a year in the spring. Their honey can be harvested in the late summer (August to September). Tropical bees can work year-round and honey can be harvested as often as every 2 weeks in small hives, whereas slower colonies may produce mature honey every 6 months.

Supply Chain Characteristics 15

Beekeepers raise and maintain honey bee populations and harvest the honey before it goes into bulk storage or local use. It is then shipped to distributors and packaged. The honey is then distributed to retailers and niche expert markets where it is sold to the consumer.

Way Exported 16

Large amounts of honey are transported in stackable, plastic buckets with tight fitting lids.

Shipping pattern into US 17

Honey from China is often shipped to other Asian countries, including India and Vietnam, before it is shipped to the U.S. Chinese honey has a history of containing illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed a large tariff on Chinese honey to lower the amount of Chinese honey coming into the U.S. To avoid the tariff, Chinese producers are shipping the honey to other countries and then to the U.S.

Typical Packaging 16

Honey is typically packaged in plastic or glass containers which often includes temper-evident, induction lined closures.

Food Safety and Defense

Typical Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) 18

Hazard Common Controls Production/Processing Step
Tutin toxin and chemical residues Supplier statements confirming beekeeper controls Receiving
Bacterial pathogens Visual inspection of combs; removal of defective and infested combs; and hygienic practices will minimise contamination Deboxing
Bacterial pathogens Hygienic practices; and maintenance of uncapping knife will minimise contamination Uncapping
Bacterial pathogens Removal of damaged and dirty combs/frames; and cleaning and maintenance of equipment will minimise contamination Extraction
Foreign objects, e.g. wood, wire, nails, plastic Maintenance of frames will minimise the hazards Extraction
Foreign objects, e.g. wood, wire, nails, plastic Most physical hazards are removed when honey is passed through the spinner Spinning
Foreign objects, e.g. wood, wire, nails, plastic Any remaining physical hazards are removed by the strainer Pumping into tanks and straining
Bacterial pathogens and chemical residues Compliance with drum requirements; and cleaning of drums will minimise contamination Filling into drums

Key Activity Type - Coating/Mixing/Grinding/Rework 19

Yes - coating/mixing/grinding/rework

Key Activity Type - Ingredient Staging/Prep/Addition (2014) 19

No

Key Activity Type - Liquid Receiving/Loading (2014) 19

Yes - liquid receiving/loading

Key Activity Type - Liquid Storage/Hold/Surge Tanks (2014) 19

Yes - liquid storage/hold/surge tanks

Recall history 20

As of September 2, 2016, no recall history was located for this product.

Foodborne illness pathogens (2014) 21

Clostridium botulinum

List of past EMA adulterants (2015) 22

Glucose, dextrose, molasses, invert sugar, corn syrup, transshipped honey, mislabeled honey, syrup substance, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, furazolidone, antibiotics, syrup, commercial glucose, hydroxymethylfurfural, sugar, sugar syrup, corn sugar, stolen maple syrup, rice syrup, starch syrup, liquid sugar candy, preservatives

Current issues (2015) 23

Recently, honeybee colonies have been dying at an extremely high rate. In the United States, about one third of all honeybee colonies have dies every winter since 2007. This loss is most likely due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon which we know little about. The loss of honeybees will not only have a major impact on availability of honey, but also many fruits and vegetables which need bees for pollination.

To avoid high tariffs imposed by the United States on Chinese honey, China has been shipping millions of pounds of honey to other Asian countries, where it is then shipped to the United States as an export of that country. Chinese honey has been shown to contain illegal antibiotics used on bees, as well as dangerous heavy metals and is banned in the European Union. Large honey distributors in the U.S. buy this inexpensive honey and sell the illegal honey in the U.S.

Food Defense Incidents (2017) 24

Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
Before 1980
Year Ended
1996
Incident summary
A family-run honey and syrup business in rural Dekalb, Mississippi was prosecuted by the FDA for more than two decades of adulteration of "pure honey" and "pure maple syrup" products with corn syrup. The products were sold in old-fashioned copper colored tins at farmer's markets around the United States. FDA received complaints about the products from industry and consumers. The company received multiple notifications that the products were considered adulterated, which they reportedly disregarded and continued to produce and sell corn syrup labeled as pure cane syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses and sorghum syrup.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey, maple syrup
Affected food product(s)
honey, maple syrup
Originated location(s)
United States
Harm location(s)
United States, Austria
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2001
Year Ended
2002
Incident summary
At least 28 consignments of Chinese honey were imported into Australia as a product of Singapore by CHS Enterprises Pty. Ltd and JHM Trading Co. Singapore does not have honey bees. In Australia, 125 shipping containers were repackaged and re-labeled as Australian honey and exported to the United States, Canada, and Europe. 39 shipments arrived in the U.S. described as Australian honey. Australia also detected problems with royal jelly that was labeled as Australian but did not originate from Australia.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey, jelly
Affected food product(s)
honey, jelly
Originated location(s)
China
Harm location(s)
United States, United Kingdom, Canada
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
Unknown
Year Ended
2004
Incident summary
A struggling beekeeper mislabeled filled woodland honey jars with a cheap argentinian substitute and sold 25 liters to specialist shops such as The Good Life in Wooler, Northumberland. The misleading label read "honey from our carefully managed colonies on the Scottish borders". A rival beekeeper saw the jars in the store and filed a complaint with Trade Standards based on knowledge that conditions were poor and honey yields were low from the previous year. The fraudster beekeeper was fined 600 pounds.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
Scotland
Harm location(s)
Scotland
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2004
Year Ended
2004
Incident summary
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency discovered five lots of honey distributed in British Colombia contained residues of chloramphenicol. The honey was labeled as product of Canada; however, chloramphenicol is banned for use in honeybees in Canada. In a similar incident in 2002, routine testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detected the drug in honey imported from China. Recalls were initiated at the import, manufacturer and retail levels to remove all honey of chinese origin from the marketplace in addition to blends containing chinese honey.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
Canada, China
Harm location(s)
Canada
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
1988
Year Ended
1992
Incident summary
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FDA brought charges against a large honey processing firm in Belleview, Florida for selling honey blended with corn syrup as "USDA Grade A" or "pure" honey, resulting in an estimated $1 million cost savings over a 4-year period. Most of the honey was sold to food processors. However, the jury ultimately ruled in favor of the honey processor.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
United States, United States
Harm location(s)
United States
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2002
Year Ended
2009
Incident summary
An international trading company based in Germany (ALW Food Group) and subsidiaries in the U.S. and China conspired to ship 606 shipments of Chinese-origin honey into the U.S. by declaring alternate countries of origin in order to avoid paying anti -dumping duties. The honey was transshipped through countries including Russia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Some of the honey was contaminated with unapproved antibiotics, and knowingly sold to U.S. customers. The fraud included the creation of "shell" companies, falsification of documents, and falsification of laboratory testing results. More than 2,400 drums were seized during a probe. The fraud allegedly resulted in the avoidance of almost $80 million in anti-dumping duties.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
China
Harm location(s)
United States
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2009
Year Ended
2011
Incident summary
Three men were apprehended and charged with smuggling and providing false descriptions of imported product in Jacksonville, Florida. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations, the individuals labeled 55-gallon barrels of chinese honey as rice fructose to avoid the $1,150,000 ($2.63 per kilo) duty owed to the United States for imported honey. After passing through customs,the containers were forwarded to a warehouse where they were relabeled as amber honey and sold to domestic buyers. A total of 900 mislabeled containers were imported over a period of 2 years. In 2013, the men were acquitted of charges when a judge decided the Customs and Border Protection testing on the products was non-specific.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
China, Taiwan
Harm location(s)
United States
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2005
Year Ended
2005
Incident summary
Shu Bei "Kathy" Yuan and Hung Ta Fan, also known as Michael Fan, were convicted for shipping mislabeled Chinese honey into the United States. Yuan and Fan used two companies, Blue Action Enterprise Inc.and Honey World Enterprise Inc., to tranship the honey, which was labeled as originating in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. A total of 26 shipments were made to the U.S. and $1.5 million in anti-dumping duties were avoided. Both perpetrators will serve time in prison. It was also revealed that Yuan and Fan's business was closely interconnected with ALW Food Group which was also convicted for transshipment and origin making of Chinese honey.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
China, United States
Harm location(s)
United States
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
2005
Year Ended
2008
Incident summary
Chinese honey worth more than $1.4 million was sent to the Philippines and Thailand, where it was repackaged and relabeled to hide its true country of origin. Authorities began investigating Rainier Cascade and Evergreen Produce in 2008, and found evidence that the honey was manufactured in China and shipped using fraudulent documents. Investigators determined there were no manufacturing facilities in Thailand and the Philippines where the honey was supposedly processed. In fact, one of the locations was actually a warehouse used for storage and repackaging of goods. The anti-dumping duties owed on the honey total more than $3.3 million.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
China
Harm location(s)
United States
Type of incident
EMA
Number of illnesses
0
Number of deaths
0
Year Began
Unknown
Year Ended
2011
Incident summary
In Villa Elisa, Argentina, honey adulteration was detected. Honey was found to be diluted with corn syrup and/or commercial glucose. Officials suggested to the public to refrain from buying honey from the Chajari province.
Adulterated food product(s)
honey
Affected food product(s)
honey
Originated location(s)
Argentina
Harm location(s)
Argentina

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