Most honey sold in U.S. grocery stores not worthy of its name
November 9th, 2011
07:00 PM ET
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Most of the honey sold in chain stores across the country doesn't meet international quality standards for the sweet stuff, according to a Food Safety News analysis released this week.

One of the nation's leading melissopalynologists analyzed more than 60 jugs, jars and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia for pollen content, Food Safety News said. He found that pollen was frequently filtered out of products labeled "honey."

"The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies," the report says. "Without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources."

Among the findings:

• No pollen was found in 76 percent of samples from grocery stores including TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

• No pollen was found in 100 percent of samples from drugstores including Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy.

• The anticipated amount of pollen was found in samples bought at farmers markets, co-ops and stores like PCC and Trader Joe's.

Why does it matter where your honey comes from? An earlier Food Safety News investigation found that at least a third of all the honey consumed in the United States was likely smuggled from China and could be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.

Foreign honey also puts a squeeze on American beekeepers, who have been lobbying for years for an enforceable national standard to prevent foreign honey from flooding the market.

The Food and Drug Administration does not have a standard of identity for honey like it does for milk or other products, a spokesman said.

The lack of regulation is what enables potentially unsafe honey to make its way into the country, Andrew Schneider, author of the Food and Safety News report.

"Where there's no pollen, there's no way for authorities to confirm where the honey came from, so it's easy to smuggle illicit honey into the country," he said.

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Filed under: Beekeeping • Bees • Food Politics


soundoff (993 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    No offense but that why it sucks to live in cities. We get our honey from people who place the hives on our land throughout the summer. 2 huge boxes of it too! Keep loving on living the dream America... while I live mine.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • c-dub

      This has nothing to do with living in the city. I keep bees in a big city.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • No offense?

      Dear Hillbilly Redneck, don't make ignorant comments about the millions upon millions of people that love living in their respective cities. I can easily – and I do – drive right on down the local farmer's markets and buy organic honey, fruit, etc...

      November 10, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Adam

      Your a smug one.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • onmiwei

      I have lived in big cities as well as extreme way out in the coutry middle of nowhere. I have never had an issue getting local honey. You just have to be willing to step out of the grocery store.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • minmo

      I live in a very rural area and it is difficult for us to get local grown anything. The farmer's markets in the neighboring large cities are far superior to anything my area has to offer.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  2. Joe

    Folks, it's easy, buy local products only.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  3. Russ

    Those damn Chinese! Now they're even messing with the birds and bees. Where will it stop!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Grothnar, Troll King

      It will stop at Uranus.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:02 am |
      • Jefferson Samolet

        That's one weak-ass troll right there.

        Turn in your crown, Grothnar.

        November 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
      • Spock

        Is that a moon or a hemroid?

        November 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  4. NODAT1

    yet another NAFTA milestone but what will come out of this?????? Nothing

    Reports will be filed over and over again all conflicting and confusing results about what is Honey pollen content and how its processed. They will pass laws governing the amount of pollen required in Honey. Special interest groups and mass food production industry will use NAFTA as their battle cry and deem anyone who opposes NAFTA as raciest in the end they will buy off our elected leaders in order to change the verbiage of the law so they can import even more unregulated honey like substance from China.

    Even if a new honey regulation bill is passed China will introduce another type of virus that will destroy even more US hives forceing the US to import even more from them

    November 10, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Robert23

      NAFTA = NORTH AMERICAN free trade agreement, what does that have to do with China? US does not have a FTA with China...

      November 10, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  5. STEVE G

    FACT: Honey is the only food on the planet that will NEVER go bad. Unless contaminated, it will keep for ever and ever!!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • Grothnar, Troll King

      Interesting, have you personally tested it to it's full shelf-life? Everything breaks down at some point friend, even nuclear waste.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:07 am |
      • SixDegrees

        Others have tested this. Honey recovered from Egyptian tombs that is several thousand years old is edible and tasty, though heavily crystallized.

        November 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jefferson Samolet

      Grothnar, you motard. Honey removed from clay jars sealed in pyramids of Egypt, about 3000 years old, has been found to be completely edible.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  6. Acklafan

    IF China decides to stop trade with the USA....WalMart will go out of business...along with many other US companies...such as Loew's and Home Depot. 90% or more of WalMarts products are made outside the USA! We're almost totally dependent on products made out of the USA. Now that's frightening!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • Mike

      And IF China decides not to trade with the US, they'll go bankrupt. Who do you think is China's biggest importer?

      November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • c-dub

      And those countries are just as dependent - or more dependent - on us to buy their products. If international trade were to collapse, it's would be a lot easier for us to increase our manufacturing than for those countries to replace the lost markets.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  7. scott

    Yeah. Those pesky regulations that keep food safe...and unnatural?

    November 10, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  8. DoubleTap

    Nuke China

    November 10, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • RickyRooney

      Dummy.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • chieatfetus

      i agree....or they need a very bad natural disaster (how about an earthquake or an asteroid? maybe the aliens will start abducting them to do experiements)

      November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  9. Dave Ocame

    Due to the unfortunate lack of education regulation, it appears you never learned reading and comprehension, when it would do you the most good.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  10. Lorenzo

    Now that's a sensationalistic headline: "Most honey sold in U.S. grocery stores not worthy of its name"

    So the article implies that much of the honey that's sold is "not worthy of its name" because it typically does not contain much pollen and therefore there's no way to know if the honey comes from, say, China, Inc., and therefore can be assumed to be tainted with unhealthful substances??? Oh brother.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • tuan

      there a recent discovery that china make cooking oil from industrial waste and using water from the sewer?

      November 10, 2011 at 8:42 am |
      • Mouglie00

        http://news.yahoo.com/china-detains-32-selling-cooking-oil-made-waste-055557391.html

        November 10, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • jimmymax

      They're worried about where the honey came from? In some countries, like Egypt, you can be quite certain you're not even getting pure honey, and that it has been heavily cut with corn syrup. Oh it'll say "pure honey" on the label, but I know corn syrup when I taste it, and of course this has been done for centuries in countries where there was no inspection or enforced regulation. So don't feel too bad that your honey has no pollen in it (from "deep within the flower"??? Uh no, it's right on the anthers on the bloom of the flower), I'd venture to say that most third world countries aren't even selling you pure honey, though they do often put a hunk of honeycomb inside to try to convince you of that - another rip-off because of course the honeycomb is not honey, and yet you've just paid for its volume in the jar as though it were honey.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:49 am |
      • Mike

        How many times are you going to post this nonsense. See reply to your post at 8:50

        November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am |
      • DP

        It sounds like there's a lot of market opportunity in Egypt, if you can develop a trusted distribution chain for quality products. Of course, you have to be careful government "regulators" don't come in an enforce their "quality standards". What that'll amount to is politically connected businessmen will use the regulators to drive you out of business instead of beating you with better products/services/prices. Do you see how using the government to do your product selection for you is not all it's cracked up to be?

        November 10, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • coy4one

      Pollen is the signature of all honey! In fact, if you eat honey made in your local region, and it has not been filtered so that the pollen is gone, most likely you will build immunity to the pollens in your area. Hence, you may have fewer pollen-related allergies. For centuries, before allergy drugs were created, honey was the “drug” of choice for solving spring and summer allergies. A spoonful a day was the way to keep allergies at bay. I still take a spoonful a day from honey made two blocks from my home. Honey is a perfect food and most healthy! (Yes, there are still perfect food items out there, like garlic.) Bacteria do not grow on honey which is why its shelf life is so long. By taking the pollen out of the honey, the honey is less safe, you can't tell where it comes from, and the more you tamper with it, the more unsafe it becomes. If you don't trust the stores, buy from local bee harvesters. They are all over the place, you just don’t know it. Better yet, become one. I hear it’s a great hobby and if you are a flower lover, it will help make your gardens beautiful too!

      November 10, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  11. Pastry Queen

    What? Walmart wasn't even mentioned in the Article!!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • scott

      Neither was Apple!

      November 10, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Sarah

      Everything from Walmart already comes from China... I'm sure there honey is a part of that 1/3, duh!

      November 10, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  12. Michael

    I believe this article clearly makes the point that a lack of regulation causes this particular problem, reading comprehension FTW.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • SixDegrees

      It doesn't make that point at all. The problem is that regulation is simply impossible due to filtering of honey, which removes pollen that would otherwise allow the origin of the honey to be identified. There is nothing illegal about this filtering – it is done because consumers prefer clear honey that doesn't crystallize. No amount of regulation can fix this particular problem simply because there's no evidence to base regulation upon.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  13. stephen

    this is why i buy local honey only

    November 10, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Dennis

      Local honey is the best. If you have allergies the pollen in local honey helps build up your immunity.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:41 am |
      • Grothnar, Troll King

        I lick flowers for my allergy/pollen building immunity.

        November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Bob

      I only buy local honey as well. In fact I buy raw honey. I doesn't have that pretty golden glow to it. But it is supposed to be better for you because the things that are good for you in honey are not filtered out at all.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  14. Commonsense

    Uhh....Ya kinda got that backwards, didn't ya???? Come on, Man........

    November 10, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  15. Mike

    YES!!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  16. Rick

    If anything ever happens to China we will have no clothes to wear, no food to eat or borrowed money to spend. Think about it!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • John B

      We made due just fine before any Walmarts existed.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:15 am |
      • mpouxesas

        ok...true, but, put away your cell phone, throw out your tv, cook your own prepared food, use wood to heat your home...need I go on? and THEN make the suggestion that we did fine before wal-mart...

        November 10, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      You had to make due? We used to just get due off the flowers.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:22 am |
      • B.C.

        You had flowers? We had to get due from the bees.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:23 am |
      • J.C.

        You had bees? We had to use wasps.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:25 am |
      • gma94

        Um....dew?

        November 10, 2011 at 8:31 am |
      • Tropix

        White Anglo Saxon Protestants?

        November 10, 2011 at 8:31 am |
      • Larry Davis

        Wasps? We had to pollinate the flowers ourselves. Sometimes we had to plant the flowers first.

        November 10, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Jon

      "Rick
      If anything ever happens to China we will have no clothes to wear, no food to eat or borrowed money to spend. Think about it!"
      Then we wouldn't have any debt, either!!

      November 10, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    You want honey? Find a local beekeeper.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Giantsfan17

      ^This

      November 10, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Dave Ocame

      I prefer "Swords into Plowshares" honey. Produced right here in New Haven.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:38 am |
      • bzzz

        Honey Gardens here in VT...yum!

        November 10, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  18. ofCanada

    "found that at least a third of all the honey consumed in the United States was likely smuggled from China and could be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals."

    This is one of the scariest food statements I've read in a long time. Not just because such a thing is happening with honey, but also that it points to what might be frequent, if not common, common, if not standard, practices by the food industry.

    I don't like constant crisis cries, but Americans should be very worried about this.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • nin-com-poop

      Exactly. And Rome continues to burn.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Some Engineer

      How many people have you heard of getting sick or having other negative effects from this supposedly bad honey? If there was even the slightest crisis they would have referenced the numbers in this article. The fact that they couldn't find any actual cases to throw in here suggests that it's not a problem at all.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:23 am |
      • Richp

        Just wait a few years, makes one wonder about the 300% increase in things like autism and other developmentally disabled people. As for the heavy metals, again, cumulative, takes years to show up so by all means lets just ignore it and see what happens. Until then I'll just continue to get my honey from a local bee keeper, you, you do whatever you think is best.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:35 am |
      • kurtinco

        Shockingly short-sighted, SomeEngineer. Of course nobody says, "I got sick from honey." Heavy metals take time to kill. We're talking about stuff like mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium. We know that these heavy metals cause a wide array of disorders. Once these metals enter into the body, they cannot be expelled. We sit here and wonder why things like autism is on the rise. let's face it. China is poisoning us slowly over a long period of time. And the honey is just one delivery system.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • J.C.

      Did Huntsman have anything to do with food imports when he was Ambassador to China?

      November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  19. Headculies

    Honey ain't nothing but bee sh-t.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • ofCanada

      you need a biology refresher.

      try: "Honey ain't nothing but bee preserves and jams"

      or: "Honey ain't nothing but bee pablum"

      November 10, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • hexdragon

      Actually it is bee puke... The worker bees eat the pollen, partially digest it, and then regurgitate it...

      November 10, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Really Jersey

      No, bees store nectar in their stomach & regurgitate it into the cells in the comb. Then bees fan their wings to evaporate a large portion of the water & cap it with wax when it is thick enough. It is concentrated flower nectar. Please...Read a book about these fascinating creatures.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • dupont24

      It's bee spit moron

      November 10, 2011 at 8:13 am |
      • Tropix

        Hey! Lighten up. He/She was only off by a letter.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  20. hogg

    Just don't buy anything made in China. Then they will get a clue!

    November 10, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Jim

      Manufactured in China, but often owned and run by US nationals or US corporations. You can't really blame the Chinese when US Corporations are exploiting labor and dodging health and safety regulations by building factories in China. While it is true that some of these corporations are actually owned and operated by Chinese, not all of them are.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:53 am |
      • hexdragon

        I am not sure if your statement is correct. I do not think a foreign company can own a business in China. They can only sub-contract to them... And I believe that the Chinese government owns part of every company in China...

        November 10, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • Brad

        Not true hexdragon, they just have to follow Chinese regulations, and sometimes, China makes them change their name to make it look like a chinese company for propaganda purposes, like they did with some of the car companies.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:32 am |
      • J.C.

        China is huge and police are open to bribes. You can set up a factory, hire workers, manufacture and pack for a week or two, load trucks and escape with millions in goods without any government oversight at all. It's hard to find someone there, too: "He was about this high, black hair, and his name was Mr. Lee."

        November 10, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • ofCanada

      THE POINT is that consumers are being deceived into buying "honey" from China.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • zoulouu991

      90% of everything is made in China my friend.
      We have no choice.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:58 am |
      • Joe

        Of course you have a choice, you are just too lazy to find stores that sell non-imported crap.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  21. Tadei Nisan

    It is the same problem with cinnamon. The cinnamon available in most US supermarkets is a cousin of the real deal. It is called cassia and comes from China and Indonesia. Finding real cinnamon from Ceylon is almost impossible.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  22. cpc65

    A melissopalynologist? Why didn't my high school guidance counselor ever mention that one as a possible career choice?

    November 10, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • asrael

      Look it up: it's an interesting field; as well as a mouthful to pronounce (which might explain a counselor's reluctance to mention it)...

      November 10, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • J.C.

      Guys, the thing to take away here is that 'Melissa' means 'honeybee.' Good to know.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  23. George Washington

    Our forefathers wanted small government. We need a smaller government now, less regulation,smaller taxes, less burden on big business. Vote republican for less service like the FDA food inspections. We are better off not knowing what we are eating or where it comes from, so we have more money to spend on stuff. If it's not regulated it's not smuggled. Thanks GOP!!

    November 10, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Bobs your uncle

      ooook. That makes no sense.
      So youre ok with nobody double checking the quality of your food so you can save a few dollars? You can go stand over there with the other children and stay quiet.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:47 am |
      • meh

        I thought he was being sarcastic.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:50 am |
      • Jorge

        Uncle, don't you recognize sarcasm when you see it? Our first president was a funny man.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:52 am |
      • Taeaaaaa

        I believe this person was using sarcasm.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:58 am |
      • Richard

        The problem with FDA is that the current administration transfered most of the FDA inspectors to Homeland Safety to inspect your underware when you board an airplane !!

        November 10, 2011 at 8:15 am |
      • Doonesburry

        He was being tongue-in-cheek. Vote GOP, and make sure you have plenty of guns and bullets. You will need them for the local vigilante group near where you live. No food inspections no problem! Eat some heavy metal, and die before you cost the tax payers any social security! Smaller government means less government intrusion into your private life; they simply sub-contract all the spying, police action and jails to private firms like Blackwater and these guys: http://www.cca.com/

        When companies start governing instead of government we have this a fast track to fascism. It starts by creating fears for the people, whipping them to a frenzy and the blaming it on the liberals... Of course Rick Perry is the smartest man to lead us out of this mess. He knows all the government departments he wants to get rid of, if he can't remember which ones, the FDA will do.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Jim

      Wow. Your lack of reason is astounding. If less regulation actually led to a reduction in undesirable behavior, why have laws at all? If we got rid of regulations (laws) that prohibit rape, murder, and theft, we can expect a reduction in rapes, murders, and robberies? Come on now. That is just moronic. We have laws and penalties because they deter undesirable behaviors. If we didn't believe that, then we'd get rid of them.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:49 am |
      • Jorge

        Oh brother (forehead smack), you guys have no sense of facetiousness.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • jai

      Also due to small Govt, Bank sold Mortgage like hot dogs and see what damage it did.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  24. Tropix

    Our local farmers' market offered cinnamon honey. It was a mouth or ga sm in a jar.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Really Jersey

      I remember a duty station in Florida, NASJAX. There was a little beekeeper who took us out to a spinning shed where she emptied the combs. She span the combs right then, opened the faucet & gave us a 5 pound jar of the best orange blossom honey I had ever tasted. Delicate & fruity. I got a smaller jar for the table, & made a batch of the best mead with that 5 pounder. Try blueberry in NJ & cranberry too, oh my! Honey is food for the soul.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:00 am |
      • Mark D.

        First thing I thought of was the honey in all of my beer and cider that are fermenting now. I'm glad I usually get these things fresh at farmer's markets but I know a few pounds have come from the supermarket. Nothing like a Mercury aftertaste in that sweet apple cider :D

        November 10, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  25. RandiRN

    I only purchase local honey. The beekeeper is about 15 miles from my home. The product is super and it is raw honey. One thought is that using local honey can help people with allergies. You consume the pollen in the honey and therefore lessen the sensitivity to the pollens. I agree with the person who said we should eat locally produced foods. I am fortunate in that I live within a farming community. I get to purchase produce directly from the grower. I will always support the local businesses.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • bosmonkey

      I completely agree. Buy local honey. I live south of Boston, MA and have at least 2 bee farms. There are numerous benefits to having a teaspoon of LOCAL honey a day. Most importantly, as you mentioned, is that it helps your body build up some immunity to pollens in your area.

      Chain store bought stuff is cr@p.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  26. Jerry, Florida

    Honey, this is NOT HONEY!?

    November 10, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  27. Nick B

    Oh noes, no pollen in honey? Whatsoever shall we do?

    If heavy metals or antibiotics are in it, those can be directly tested for. What the heck is the big deal?

    November 10, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • George Washington

      Who's going to test it?

      November 10, 2011 at 7:33 am |
      • Jorge

        The same folks who allow an uninspected product to be smuggled and sold to U.S. consumers, I guess, Mr. president.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Darth Cheney

      Talk about missing the point. The issue here is the scale of a whole industry misrepresenting its product, and numbnuts like you who don't know what the word "fraud" means. When Republicans are permissive on this garbage, it becomes a game to misrepresent more products more blatantly to keep costs down.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • YANR

        Personally, I buy honey. I don't buy pollen. I don't even buy honey with pollen. I don't really care that there's no pollen in it. What's the big deal. If you want to stop illegal imports of honey from China, how about taking a peek inside those shipping containers coming from China. If you're worried about heavy metals and illegal antibiotics, try testing the honey for those, instead of looking for pollen.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:51 am |
      • Oakspar77777

        The writer of this article should be deaf from editorial laughter when this was submitted.

        Removing pollen from honey does not make it "not honey" any more than filtering out the dead bee carcasses is. The supermarket shopper wants clear honey, so that is what they are given.

        The issue is not whether the honey is honey or not but where it is sourced from. This is clearly the hippie agenda of some locavore wingnut who is upset that the honey might be imported rather than local. So long as the label does not say local, there is no fraud.

        Heavy metals? Have you been licking your child's toys to have heavy metal on the brain? You would have to go out of your way to concentrate heavy metals in honey. Antibiotics? Many AMERICAN LOCAL honeygrowers medicate their hives. All american honeybees are exposed to a host of lovely chemicals on commercial crop fields (bees like to travel).

        This is a non-story about a non-issue and akin to lamenting that milk is pasturized and saying that the government should step in and stop pasturization to make sure that any milk not grown next door will be dangerously old.

        Take a bath, hippie.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:07 am |
      • kurtinco

        Oak...your attitude is shocking and uninformed. Heavy metals take time to kill. We're talking about stuff like mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium. We know that these heavy metals cause a wide array of disorders. Once these metals enter into the body, they cannot be expelled. So, tiny doses accumulate over time. This isn't something out of the hippy book, it is science fact. We sit here and wonder why things like autism is on the rise. Let's face it. China, and corporate interests in general, are poisoning us slowly over a long period of time. And the honey is just one delivery system out of thousands.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:55 am |
      • pinkladybird

        Darth Cheney – love the name!

        I agree with "The issue here is the scale of a whole industry misrepresenting its product". The whole industry being the big guys right down to the little and LOCAL honey sellers! Not all of them, but most you will find if you do your homework on honey and what is really being sold, are about as bad as the big ones!

        After selling direct for 4 years to consumers through many farmers markets and national retail chain store fronts, I have found about 98% of the consumers know nothing about honey – right down to even the very basic difference between raw and pasteurized. Because of this, the Whole Industry as taking full advantage of that ignorance.

        If the Industry can get away with this, being that the Product has only ONE ingredient, or should have only one ingredient – honey, what are they getting away with on products that are made up of many ingredients?

        And YANR you need to go take a nap!

        November 10, 2011 at 9:54 am |
      • SixDegrees

        Uh – honey is hyper-concentrated flower nectar (and a few other things, like bee spit). If there are high levels of heavy metals in the environment – which is a problem in China – they will appear in plants, including flowers, and will be heavily concentrated in honey made from those flowers. This isn't exactly rocket science.

        November 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  28. cmayo

    I am a honey broker in Florida. I sell the worlds best honey and purchase by the barrel directly from the apiary. I know exactly where it comes from, who the bee keeper is and how they farm the honey. The point is if we purchased more of our food from our local American farmers we have a better chance of purchasing quality products for our family and in-turn supporting our own American farmers. Shop at a local farmers market if you want to know where your food comes from. Not only is the quality better and cheaper you will be supporting the guy who lives down the road NOT the person you don't know who lives faraway and doesn't care what our families consume.... cmayo ... greenplanamerica.com

    November 10, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • Kim

      I bought some brazilian pepper honey from a local market and it blew my frickin tastebuds! Mild, not cloyingly sweet like the clover honey can be, with a hint of pepperiness. Yum!

      November 10, 2011 at 7:18 am |
      • cmayo

        Try White Tupelo Honey... Its the best in the world... Its never processed (pasteurized), will not granulate and pollen counts run between 95 and 97 %.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • rachel

      I will buy local farmers honey from now on....I always thought if I bought unpasteurized I was okay, but i guess not. Thanks for the heads up. xo

      November 10, 2011 at 7:33 am |
      • cmayo

        Most honey you get in the grocery store is pasteurized and goes through a heating and filtering process. You need to look for RAW honey. That means is has not been pasteurized and filtered. I sell strictly raw honey. It makes a big difference in taste and doesn't loose the important vitamins and minerals that are naturally in honey.. !

        November 10, 2011 at 7:39 am |
      • YANR

        If you're eating honey for the 'vitamins and minerals' you've got a lot more to worry about than pollen counts.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:53 am |
      • cmayo

        Why would you not be concerned about all attributes of of what you consume? We need essential vitamins and minerals to survive. I agree pollen count is a major concern, however they are degrading the entire product we are consuming.
        Here is what RAW honey should consist of........ Average Carbohydrate composition – Dextrose 25.95%, Fructose (Levulose) 43.27%, Sucrose 1.21%, Maltose 7.97%, Higher sugars 1.1%. High in Levulose, low in Dextrose. Freedom from impurities.
        Vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, and nicotinic acid, all of which play vital roles in human nutrition.
        Minerals – iron, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and phosphorous. These elements are all essential to good nutrition.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • fiskenmann

      Support American farmers instead? They are just as bad as the Chinese. If you don't believe that, then you've missed a lot of 'recalls'. It's all about the once mighty dollar.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • Jorge

      @cmayo-Boss, what you're saying would make me all warm and fuzzy inside if it weren't for some good ole' boys peddling toxic eggs out of Minnesota, Washington state and Iowa, spoiled chicken out of Colorado and tainted beef out of Kansas. The truth of the matter is that the FDA needs to get off it's political-puppet duff concerning ALL aggie products. Otherwise, if I'm going to get sick off of what I eat anyway, I might as well buy it from where it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:27 am |
      • cmayo

        The problem is we have no small farms anymore making it difficult to track contamination problems. When you purchase product: milk, grapes, cantaloup, meats, tomatoes, etc... You are purchasing it from a COOP of farms from all over. The processor puts their label on the product although they are not the grower or producer. We need to get back to our roots and support smaller local farms therefore cutting back on our tainted food supply. At least we could pinpoint problems quicker and prevent large outbreaks of contamination.....

        November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am |
      • jing- a- ling@Jorge

        Jorge, what a stupid fuking thing to say.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:53 am |
      • Jorge

        ROFL "stupid fuking??" What's "stupid fuking???" Something yo' momma with yo' daddy did back in the day to have a pride and joy like you? (I'm not offended, it's just that this cutting up is funny as hell).

        November 10, 2011 at 9:08 am |
      • jing- a- ling@Jorge

        Hahaha! Just messing with ya. I'm bored and just wanted to see if I could get you to respond.

        November 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  29. The Watcher

    Once again, the Republicans have lauded the outsourcing as beneficial to their fellow Americans. They openly and agressively posture to reduce regulations and regulators. The contention being industry can self regulate. This article is hardly news, these criminals have been actively destroying american businesses for 30 years or more. Why does no one go to jail?

    November 10, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • The Seer

      And, once again, idiots like Watcher have to drag politics into a story that never mentions anything about government, politics, nor political beliefs. Watcher, go back under your bed and just stay hidden so the big bad germs won't find you.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:08 am |
      • nin-com-poop

        Everything is political, even honey.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • nin-com-poop

      Because they pass the laws that are pretty much written by business lobbys. Business as usual while the planet goes to cr ap and the American middle class, what's left of it, continues to erode. If we are lucky, Perry will buy the presidency and we can all settle into 8.00/hour jobs with big box retailers.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • Pilot

      Please check the NAFTA law and see which president signed it, you may be very surprised!

      November 10, 2011 at 7:29 am |
      • George Washington

        Everybody knows who signed it. That's old news and irrelevent. It is political and we need a president who can convince people that government needs "to do things that people can't do for themselves", which is what Clinton said, like food inspections and regulation of imported products. This president needs to show leadership by convincing us to spend money for these services. The GOP/teapartiers won't do it.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:38 am |
      • Richard

        The current administration transferred FDA inspectors to HomeLand Security to inspect your underware when you board an airplane instead of inspecting agricultural related things.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  30. tv

    It's made of ... People!!

    November 10, 2011 at 6:56 am |
    • justmeanddog

      Your thinking of "Soylent Green".

      November 10, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Tropix@tv

      Noooooo. It's made BY beeple!

      November 10, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  31. justmeanddog

    If I remember correctly Pollen is just the package that carries the plant’s sperm.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Nick B

      You are correct sir!

      November 10, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  32. seakans

    KFC no longer serves honey packets. It now says "honey sauce" and the main 1st ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

    November 10, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • Darth Cheney

      This actually makes KFC better than the products criticized here – at least they're not misrepresenting the product.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:39 am |
  33. BigMac

    Don't be fooled by Trader Joes, about 5 years ago they were busted and taken to court for selling mis-graded maple syrup and mis-graded olive oil. They sell cheap because they buy low quality, cheap produce and pass it off as something "better" and that includes their Chinese honey.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • Gorfolio

      Try again sir, NO FOOD products sold at Trader Joe's comes from China. Do your homework before posting next time.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:52 am |
      • Yeah Right

        @Gorfolio Gorf, how about you having done some homework and break this bad news to us instead of the media. If not, stop diluting the point.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:13 am |
      • Brian

        Not anymore. After quality issue's they decided to stop selling Chinese crap. Only after complaints from costumers and bad publicity.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  34. cj

    What, you expect the gov to pas legislation to protect the local little guys and keep out the big corporate imported garbage from China? Why would they start now?

    November 10, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • Chris

      Even less chance with all the Tea Party and Republicans calling for no regulations or self regulations

      November 10, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  35. Yossef Meir

    I have already told at previous threads like this; China is the biggest cancer in the world nowadays and its tentacles are spreading everywhere, especially in the US, its main goal for destruction. We have to face the situation. China will do anything to destabilize the foundations of the American economy. And we continue borrowing their money at the same proportion we breathe our air. Gradually, we are becoming their slaves. They flood our stores with their cheap and low quality products and sadly we blindly buy them, no matter if they are affecting our health and safety. Is the "Made in America" headed for extinction? I hope not. We are 100% responsible for our situation. Our greed reached levels never seen before and we will pay a price. Let's change our way of living while we can. Otherwise, it will bury us alive.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • 711

      Where did you get your information that China has the highest cancer rate, from your friend who works in the shoe store? According to World Cancer Research Fund Internationald the highest is Denmark then Ireland, Australia, New Zealand Belgium, France, and the US.

      People like you leave dumb comments on the internet then do not use the internet to verify their information.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:24 am |
      • nin-com-poop

        Hey, if it is on the internets, it must be true, right?

        November 10, 2011 at 7:34 am |
      • Mike

        He didn't say "highest cancer RATE in the world"

        ...he was calling China a cancer ITSELF.

        Metaphors... typically covered in 9th grade English class.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • Shannon who?

        Did you thoroughly read his comments? He didn't say China HAS the highest cancer rate, he said China IS a cancer spreading out. People like you post dumb retorts before fully comprehending what was said.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • Mike

        much like 711's stupidity is a cancer...

        November 10, 2011 at 7:39 am |
      • DonL

        Try a little reading comprehension. The statement made was that China is the biggest cancer on the planet, not that they have the highest cancer rate. 2 totally different meanings.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:43 am |
      • Rodney

        Please read before posting. The comment is that China is a cancer, not has a high rate of cancer. China is doing to the world what the US did for years, screwing everyone else for a buck. I however dont' really want my government telling me what I can eat. Set regulations regarding labels so we can see the origins of our food, but let me make a choice if I want cheap Chinese honey, or more expensive local honey. I personally prefer local, but that is my choice.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:43 am |
      • HCK

        711, you are so smart that the skill of reading must be below you. The listing to which you refer does not mention cancer rate, but rather that China is a Cancer. With which I must agree. But thanks anyway for the unrelated cancer rates.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:43 am |
      • 4815162342

        LMAO Way to completely misread his China/cancer sentence. Idiot.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:49 am |
      • Yossef Meir

        711, allow me to be clear with you. When I say that China is the biggest cancer in the world nowadays, I am referring metaphorically that the biggest cancer in the world today is called China. At no time I did mention anything about the incidence of cancer among the nations. Anyway, thanks for the information presented. One more thing, before making any wrong judgment, try to improve the interpretation of the information that you read.

        November 10, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Jorge

      I remember when the snake-oil salesmen and horse traders we had in public office and industry all over the country told us to duck and cover when we asked them why the hell we were embroiled in skullduggery and carnage aggression in South America and Southeast Asia during the '50s, '60s and early '70s. If you asked too hard you were called a subversive and an un-American dirty hippie. Socialist states in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America were considered the Devil's Lair, and Chairman Mao was considered the Devil Himself. Guess what? The inheritors of power from those "fine columns of society" have kowtowed to, struck deals behind our back with and sold us out lock, stock and barrel to the house of that very same "Devil" they so obdurately brainwashed us to revile. The term "duplicitous mendacity" comes to mind, perhaps we have obediently ducked and covered too much.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:52 am |
      • Szmarie

        That sounds really familiar – about like what they're calling the Occupy Wall Street (and everywhere-else-street) – to hear many tell it, they are dirty, hippie, commie, socialist, un-American, traitorous malcontents. In reality, all they want is to get our government out of the pockets of the corporations and their lobbyists so things like un-honeylike honey won't be foisted off on the American consumer. Of course, everyone knows the FDA has absolutey no teeth – all it can really do is bark when something is not right in terms of food and/or drugs – what are those latest drugs showing up in class action suits? What we really need is a pit-bull loyal only to it's owner – and that's not the government, not the corporations – it's the American people.

        November 10, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  36. pinkladybird

    I sell raw honey for a local Amish beekeeper at our local farmers markets and retail stores. I have had this honey tested by Michigan State University. The results showed that is some of the best produced in the USA and that it was 100 % from the area of the beekeeper. MSU's test even showed the breakdown % of the types of plants pollinated to produce it! I have also found from talking to our local beekeepers that due to the increase in demand for pure honey and the decrease of honey production due to the colony collapses that they can’t meet the demand so most of them are mixing their honey with other honeys and still labeling it “Pure Michigan Honey” and 100% their own!! This makes me sick. One of Michigan’s largest producers of honey told me that only 8% to 10% of the honey in his jar was actually his. The rest he brings in tankers from across the county. He said the honey in those tankers is only 10%-12% from the farm he buys from. The rest of the honey in the tankers is purchase from a farm from a state in the Midwest and only a small % of that honey is from that farm who in-turn buys from another farm. He said at that point he doesn’t know where the honey trail of this honey continues or where it even starts from. But… he still has it on the shelf labeled “100% Pure Michigan Honey”. I also know of many beekeepers at the farmers markets that tell their consumer that their honey is only their own than turn and snicker after purchase because the consumer feel for that fact and knew so little about honey. So, even if you are buying your honey from a local source twist their arm to make sure it is 100% produced by bees that they own from their area! Most think of their OWN honey as their OWN honey because they OWN IT, not because THEIR bees produced it! Also check to see if they are feeding their bees in the winter and what are they feeding them. Ask to if they are gravity filtering or spinning their honey out of the combs. These facts also make a difference in the quality of the honey. Once you start learning about honey and the processes of producing it for market it does become a saddening story. By the way, this same beekeeper that I spoke of above transports his bees to pollinate in California during the winter months (this by the way weakens the bee’s immune system) and still calls the honey they produce there “Michigan Honey”. His logic: “They are Michigan bees so they are making Michigan honey”. If you want to learn more about honey go to http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/. This site is accurate and gives more than enough info on honey. Also watch the bee dance on this site-it will blow your mind! Another myth, “Local honey”… it is not the distance from your residence that makes “local” honey beneficial to allergies, it is if the bees are pollinating plants that are local to your area that makes the difference. Let’s say you live in Michigan and the honey you are consuming is from Colorado, as long as the bee in Colorado pollinated from a plant that is also local to your area than you will get the same benefits as if the bee pollinated right from your back yard – as long as they honey is raw (approximately not heated above 118 degrees).

    November 10, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • SOMD

      So much for keeping it brief.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:45 am |
      • zopa

        Oh, honey! Can't read long sentences?

        November 10, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • asrael

      Fascinating reading, and many thanks!

      November 10, 2011 at 7:33 am |
      • Ariel stuntz mun

        Agreed!

        November 10, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Adrian

      Most Intelligent Comment I've Read So Far.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • YANR

      Paragraphs and chapters. Please.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Mr Dextrose

      It's still just fructose/dextrose/water with a bunch of contaminants in it. IT'S NOT MAGIC

      November 10, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • johanna

      fantastic! thanks for the info.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  37. Deep North

    Something else to place a scare in your morning......what will they think of next?

    Bad Bee, Bad Bee whatcha gonna do....whatcha gonna do when they come for you!

    November 10, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • Tropix

      LOL!! Do they drive around in beetles catching stink bugs?

      November 10, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  38. SamH

    The pollen is removed because it can cause severe alergic reactions, not to hide the source. Stores are playing it safe. That's all. The fact that some gov nerd can't track it's source is not conspiracy theory. Who cares. Want pollen.. go get it. Kinda like orange juice with or without the pulp.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:41 am |
    • Derb

      Actually, the pollen in honey can act to help your body build up immunity to pollens in the air. The medical benefits of honey can be traced back to the Egyptians as early as 2600 B.C.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:27 am |
      • Nick B

        That's iffy to say the least. It can maybe help some people to build tolerances, but then you'd probably want honey more likely to be local anyway.

        November 10, 2011 at 7:17 am |
    • Jorge

      Have you ever heard of food warning labels? How about homeopathic effect? It's what makes you buff after you work out hard, helps vaccines block you from bugs and made Roman big-shots immune from certain poisons in Caesar's day.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  39. peyote

    I dated a girl once who was a vegan and pro-choice only in America can people be so dumb and still survive.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • Mark C

      Wow, what does it say about you that you dated someone you think is so dumb? Desperate?

      November 10, 2011 at 5:37 am |
      • Salad Spinner

        That's the power of pussoi!

        November 10, 2011 at 6:06 am |
      • GaryO

        Sometimes, you can't really gauge someone's intelligence until you've known them for a while. It doesn't become a reflection on you until you have come to the conclusion that they lack intelligence, are foolish, etc., but stay with them anyway.

        November 10, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • Rednip

      Huh?
      What does this have to do with honey?
      Likely a darn Koch brother troll trying to make some vague reactionary joke. Sad really to see the GOP, a one progressive force in America, lead by such men.

      November 10, 2011 at 5:52 am |
    • malik

      Being vegan is dumb?

      November 10, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • Dave Rable

      So she thinks it's okay to kill babies of your own species, but you can't drink milk? yeah, crazy!

      November 10, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • asrael

      Fortunately, making inane, semi-literate posts is a universal phenomenon...

      November 10, 2011 at 7:36 am |
      • Tropix

        phenomenon? I would have said "epidemic" LOL!

        November 10, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Darth Cheney

      I once read a post about a guy who dated a girl who thought she was too stupid to live, yet complained about her being pro-choice.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Jorge

      I once dated a girl that was a meat-eater and an abstinence freak, only in America can somebody be so useless...

      November 10, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  40. Denise

    I am so glad that they finally put out an article like this. I have been eating locally grown honey to keep me from getting symptoms of allergies for the last few years. Locally grown honey is the rea stuff, and it tastes different and better than regular commercial honey. Also, eating locally grown honey will prevent against eating foreign honey with questionable ingredients. I live near a Whole Foods store with a bunch of different honey choices that are clearly marked as locally grown. At the grocery store, I have to read where it was manufactured before determining that it is locally grown. The three grocery stores near me carry the same locally grown honey in a big jar. That one also tastes good and fights against my allergies, but it's just one in comparison to the many other commericial honies that they offer. In this life, even the honey we buy can't be trusted.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  41. VonDoom

    Wow, I never expected a story like this. This is honey, one of the most natural sources of food I thought we still had in this world. If you can't trust this, what can you trust? The food stocked on the shelves in this country is crap and garbage. I think the food at places like Trader Joe's is questionable to a degree. Eating paint chips is now probably safer and healthier than what you buy at the local supermarket.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • chris

      So what is wrong with Trader Joes??? It's very high quality food from what I can tell and this article validates that.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  42. Revrant

    Ew! I'm buying mine from the Farmer's Market from now on, the local one allows food stamps, I'll splurge if it means I'm supporting local.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  43. Henry

    In other news, the water you are drinking...

    November 10, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  44. Winnie the Pooh

    Oh bother!

    November 10, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Tigger

      You win

      November 10, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  45. Mortimer Kowalski

    We can have the government measure the flow rates of Ketchup, but they cannot rate the quality of honey?

    November 10, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  46. Michael Savage

    I buy a nationally popular brand of honey. I like it and it has never made me sick. The main point in this thread for me, however, is the questionable conduct of the FDA. Over and over they fail to act in the interests of the people, both in areas of safety and in policing the horrific overpricing of prescription drugs. The FDA needs to be the subject of a major investigation, and it is quite possible that some members of the agency belong in prison.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  47. ala-kat

    I have no concerns about my honey. I buy it a local farmers market and comes from one county over. They do not import from China or anywhere else. Perhaps I'll take a drive this weekend and say hello. It has always been my understanding that local honey is best especially if you have certain allergies. It works best with your immune system. Also, honey never goes bad, ever (at least not real honey). So if it takes me a couple years to get through a jar, it's all good.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • zapatta

      Most of the "honey" sold in our local farmers market is the garbage from China. It is mostly high fructos corn syrup and doesn't have the taste of local honey as the lable implies. It's best to buy from the bee keeper personally....

      November 10, 2011 at 3:30 am |
      • ala-kat

        I believe them to be honest, but I will take your warning :) The name and address is on the label, one county over. Little road trip would put my mind at ease for sure. I trust the result will be positive, but I'm also prepared for the negative. We have plenty of flowers & bees around here (just on their own), so....

        November 10, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Thomas

      Just another example of the FDAs failure to protect the American consumer.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  48. Bob

    One of the original reasons the FDA was formed and some of its initial legislation was to regulate the sale of only "pure" honey. If they can't do that then you have to wonder if anything is safe.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • asrael

      Bob: I just did a brief run at the Wikipedia history of the FDA, and didn't see any specific mention of honey. Do you have any links I might follow to elaborate upon your mention of the FDA-honey rationale?

      November 10, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  49. terry

    If it isn't honey what is it?????????????????

    November 10, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Techrat3D

      Sugar goop made up of industrial waste. :o)

      November 10, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • Jason

      It probably is honey sort of. Bees make honey from pollen. They fly miles from their hive to gather the stuff and it is the pollen (which is a healthy food in its own right) which makes the honey healthy and delicious.
      Bees can also make honey from sugar or corn syrup. It will look like honey and it will smell and taste similar to honey but it lacks the pollen. I suppose you could lock bees in a warehouse and just feed them corn syrup. You would probably have to medicate them as well to keep them alive. I am not sure if they would live as long or if the honey would have to be processed some other way to look and taste the same but that would be my guess as to how they do it.

      November 10, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Edd

      Boiled Sugar!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 10, 2011 at 5:44 am |
  50. DanWa

    Trusting the FDA is like whipping your butt with wet toilet paper?. The leadership of the FDA comes from GMO industry.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Sven

      ok just stop with the conspiracy theories. Between you and the OWS people and the Tea Party I'm getting sick of the crazies

      November 10, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • asrael

      That's what you get from whipping instead of wiping...

      November 10, 2011 at 7:45 am |
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