Milk and Honey: Now Both Adulterated on a Global Scale

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Sept. 2 2010 11:48 AM

Milk and Honey: Now Both Adulterated on a Global Scale

Yesterday in Chicago, federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced indictments of 11 people linked to an alleged German-Chinese scam to smuggle $40 million worth of impure Chinese honey into the United States. Four others have already pleaded guilty. AFP reports that the German company bearing the brunt of the charges

bought low-cost honey from several Chinese suppliers and then shipped it to other countries where it was filtered to "remove pollen and other trace elements that could indicate that the honey originated from China," the 44-count indictment said.

Some of the honey was also mixed with honey from India to further disguise its origin.

It also allegedly commissioned falsified lab reports in order to hide traces of antibiotics in some shipments and then sold them to customers it knew would not test the honey upon arrival.

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Courthouse News supplies more details about the honey accusations:

The conspirators tired to conceal the fraud by destroying records, including incriminating email, and communicated by telephone and in foreign languages to avoid detection by U.S. law enforcement, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors claim after one defendant learned that a shipment of honey had been seized by U.S. Customs, he emailed other defendants: "I request that all recipients not write email about this topic. Please OVER THE TELEPHONE and in German! Thank you!" 

 Meanwhile, in the other direction, China seized 402 tons of unsafe foreign dairy products in June, according a new report to China Daily:

Data showed the problematic milk formulas were from countries and regions including New Zealand, Singapore, United States, Australia, France and Taiwan.

Problems with the products included the presence of enterobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that can lead to infection, as well as excessive amount of nitrites, zinc and total bacterial count

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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