bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, July 02, 2004

Chinese honey market

There's a new report about honey production in China that contains some illuminating snippets: Chinese honey supply is up, internal consumption is up, but the outlook for the China’s honey exports does not look so promising because of “rising global competitiveness”. China currently has a 40% slice of the world honey market.

But here is a really interesting line:
In an effort to maintain this rise in consumption Chinese honey producers are currently trying to produce mature honey, which contains more nutrients than immature honey.
I'd heard stories that in China unsealed (unripe) honey is extracted and then ripened artificially by dryers. I'd also heard that this may give Chinese honey its distinctive metallic taste. Until now, I treated the stories with some scepticism, but it appears the practice is widespread. I can't quite figure out the benefit of such early extraction.

The report also seems to say that the ban on Chinese honey by some countries has now been lifted:
In 2002 low levels of the antibiotic chloranphericol were discovered in Chinese honey — amongst other food products — creating problems for exports to both North America and Europe. Canada, the US, the UK and other countries immediately imposed a ban on a variety of Chinese food products, which was lifted after later consignments were shown to free of the substance.
I can't say I've noticed any Chinese honey blends back on the shelves of UK shops. Has the ban really been lifted? UPDATE: see this.


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