According to an article in The Economist, the three top food targets for adulteration, in order, are milk, olive oil, then honey.
The fact that American per capita consumption of honey has doubled since the 1990s but domestic production has decreased by 35 percent over the same time period is creating lots of incentive to adulterate honey.
When honey is expensive and in short supply, a little bit of corn, rice, or beet syrup can be pretty lucrative. Right now, America is producing 73,000 tons of honey a year, but we're importing 203,000 tons, primarily from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and Asia (half of it).
According to Norberto Garcia, chairman of the United States Pharmacopeia Expert Panel on Honey Quality and Authenticity (how's that for a name?) "Honey fraud is a threat to national food security."
People who wonder why I don't put much stock in labeling laws, from GMO to anything else, need to appreciate the official Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition of honey: "a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of plants or secretions of living parts of plants and store in honeycombs." This definition does not recognize the difference between aged and non-aged honey in the honeycomb. Watery fresh honey needs time to cure and dehydrate. As The Economist points out, this definition does not "take a clear position on whether something sold as honey should be free of additives." In typical government-speak, it does not preclude other things.
Folks, if Bill Clinton can get off by asking what the definition of IS is, you can see how clever fraudsters can add high fructose corn syrup to honey without saying so on the label. You get a bunch of attorneys in a court room parsing this vague definition, and pretty soon you could sell Kool-Aid as honey. When are we going to quit putting faith in labels, or the government?
This is why the trite "know your farmer, know your food" is one of the most profound statements in modern times. Unless and until we unplug from People magazine and our freaking video games and social media, putting attention instead on the authenticity of our menu's origins, we're going to be duped, dysfunctional and dishonest.
On our farm, we offer authentic raw honey from bees we know in hives we know from blossoms we know. Anyone can come out and follow a bee.
Have you replaced the sugar bowl with genuine raw honey yet?