U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have reportedly confiscated since October 2014 about 450,000 pounds of honey produced in China but falsely declared to be from Latvia on import documents.
Chinese honey has been subject to a high import tax—currently 221 percent—since 2001, when the U.S. Department of Commerce found that Chinese producers were dumping honey on the market by selling it for lower than production costs. An assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston reportedly identified the city as a “key point of entry” into the United States; in November 2013, agents there seized Chinese honey worth $4.2 million that was falsely labeled as Malaysian and Indian.
Chinese honey was also the subject of a 2002 U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning after concerns that it was adulterated with the antibiotic Chloramphenicol, which is not approved for use in the product. See ICE News Release and Houston Chronicle, January 28, 2015; Modern Farmer, February 3, 2015.