Around 15 countries supply over 90% of the honey to worldwide application. China with 60%, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Iran, Ukraine and Ethiopia are the countries that supply most of the honey to the worldwide applications. But, China has over almost 8 million hives. If five Chinese consume one pound of honey per year, they have a shortage of honey for at least around 400 million people. It means with the average production of the hives, it can provide one pound of honey for five people per year, so what about one billion population.
Basically, China is not only producing artificial honey for another 400 million, also they export adulterated honey to the worldwide consumers and supply directly and indirectly to other countries, over 60% of the requirement, to India, Argentina, Australia, Ukraine, Mexico, Canada and many other countries. Except New Zealand, every other country, that has almost open borders to China, they repack and relabel the honey and export it to so many countries, especially the U.S. and Europe. So, European countries import over 85% of their honey.
Usually Chinese honey is contained corn syrup, sugar syrup or rice syrup. They are adulterated, but their price is so low and hard to compete with such a thing as honey, but it’s not really honey basically, it’s an adulterated product. In year 2001, Chinese bar honey was returned to China because it had Chloramphenicol antibiotics residue in the honey.
So when I was in China, I saw beekeepers harvesting the honey which was not ripe yet and was three-to-four-day old honeybees. Naturally, when bees bring nectar to the colony, they have to work on that and reduce the moisture from 50, 60, 70% to 16 to 20% which in Chinese honey, I saw when they were harvesting the honey, they had over 45-50% moisture, but usually Chinese beekeepers are not independent. Each corporation is running 100, 200 or 600 or more than 1,000 beekeepers. They supply materials, food, and they are in tents usually. They have 100 hives. They’re producing royal jelly and they sell all those materials, royal jelly and non-processed honey to bees which is mostly flower nectar. And, they take that honey to the packers, they take it to the factory and they’re processing it by the reservoir or whatever they can.
Besides the pollution, another issue is basically predicting the quality of honey in China. So, I’m not saying all Chinese beekeepers, but assuming over 90%. That’s why China basically has so much influence on other countries and they basically have a big impact on marketing strategy of different countries. But also, they buy good quality honey from Canada and other countries, mix it with their own honey and market it as Canadian honey or whatever they can.
When we talk about a by-product of the bees, China is almost supplying over 95% of the by-product of the honey and honey bees to worldwide consumers. As an example, as royal jelly is important to Canada, USA and Europe, they repack that royal jelly which is adulterated and not a pure royal jelly and not a pure honey, but they repack this to their country and then sell it to Chinese people and also get it exported to China again and call it a product of Canada or a product of U.S.A or Germany or England or whatever.
That’s when we are asking the packers or suppliers to show us the non-processed royal jelly, they don’t have a single sample even to show you because all was imported from China. So, here we have our own bee operation. We show the consumer how we produce these by-products, royal jelly, and many other bee products in the backyard. And also they can see the method of production, application and harvest, everything. So, they have a control from A to Z to see how this production works. So, that makes a difference between us and what is imported to Canada and see FIA regulations or FDA food administration of the U.S. allow them to manipulate the system and have non-quality products to the market.
So, that’s another thing about how honey importation to the U.S., Canada and other countries basically is affecting the local producers. So, our job is to bring education to society, also to inform them how they can identify the quality of honey and also how they can have a control on method of production. And, also visually they can see where we are producing honey. You can have a GPS location, a GPS tag on our hive. They can basically have a control and physical appearance where the hive is located and how the production is working basically.
So, that’s a different ball game and a different subject to talk about, but we are going to talk about city beekeeping and generally informing about the impact of China on honey market internationally. And, also the quality of their production is basically quite shameful at the policies and also regulation is not tough enough to prevent them basically. So, also they know somehow how to get away from the regulation basically. So, our job is to inform the consumer how to recognize the quality of honey and the quality bee products and how to look for certain standards to ensure that the quality of the products they use meets the requirements and does not contain any chemical residue or no adulteration of any other sweetener, such as corn syrup, sugar syrup, or rice syrup or any other sweetener.