Homeland Security Takes Illicit Honey Shipment

Honey from China is pouring into the United States at an alarming rate and making the U.S. honey industry extremely bitter in the process.

Officials with Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized almost half a million pounds of illegal Chinese honey valued at $2.45 million destined for the United States since October 2014. A large shipment was confiscated in early 2015 in Houston, Texas.

Industry sources say that honey from China threatens the U.S. honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey’s reputation for quality and safety. Industry sectors from beekeeping to packing are affected by the illegal imports.

“This is excellent work on the part of the federal authorities, but unfortunately it demonstrates that illegally shipped Chinese honey continues to make its way into the United States,” said True Source Honey Executive Director Gordon Marks. “Consumers, retailers and food manufacturers need to demand certified honey. That is the most powerful way to eliminate this harmful practice.”

The True Source Certification Program is an industry-supported, voluntary program that provides traceability from hive to table and helps ensure the safety and security of the honey used in North America.

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Cattle Buyer Faces His Fourth Theft Accusation

For the fourth time in recent years a Pennsylvania man is facing fraud charges related to the buying and selling of cattle.

Two previous cases resulted in misdemeanor convictions and a third case involved the fraudulent promise to sell cattle for $135,000, which the accused allegedly pocketed unlawfully.

Now Jason Amidon, 27, of Coudersport, Pennsylvania, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he knowingly offered as payment for 53 cows in Vermont a counterfeit certified check in the amount of $100,000, and unlawfully transported those cows from Lyndonville, Vermont, to auction in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

On January 15, 2015, a federal grand jury in Burlington, Vermont, returned a two count indictment accusing Amidon of uttering a counterfeit check and unlawfully transporting 53 stolen cows across state lines.

According to the complaint, on January 1, 2015, Amidon and his father traveled to a Lyndonville farm and presented a counterfeit check to the Vermont farmer as payment for 53 Belted Galloway cattle, a heritage pedigree breed. Amidon represented the $100,000 to be an initial payment, with the $20,000 balance to be paid to the farmer at a later date. Amidon’s father then drove the cows to auction in Pennsylvania.

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