Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Sweet and Sticky Business of a Global Honey Industry

But my travels through countries such as Yemen, Borneo, Russia, the United States and China, not only taught me about bee-keeping practices around the world, they also revealed things that were not always sweet.
Bees and honey have woven a path through history that dissolves borders and time, transcends cultures and religion. They truly are universal in their reach. Sadly, though, they are also reflecting many of the problems brought about by human greed.

Tapi perjalanan melalui negara-negara seperti Yaman, Kalimantan, Rusia, Amerika Serikat dan Cina, tidak hanya mengajarkan saya tentang praktek-praktek pemelihara lebah di seluruh dunia, mereka juga mengungkapkan hal-hal yang tidak selalu manis.
Lebah dan madu memiliki dijalin jalan melalui sejarah yang larut perbatasan dan waktu, melampaui budaya dan agama. Mereka benar-benar bersifat universal dalam jangkauan mereka. Sayangnya, meskipun, mereka yang juga mencerminkan banyak masalah yang ditimbulkan oleh keserakahan manusia.
So what exactly is honey? Depending on the country you live in the definition may differ, but if we go with the one provided by the UN's Food and Agriculture Orgnaization (FAO), honey is: the natural sweet substance, produced by honeybees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants, or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living part of plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store, and leave in the honeycombs to ripen and mature.
Around 1.2 million metric tons of honey is produced worldwide each year. When you think that one little bee in its entire lifetime produces only about a spoonful of honey, it's a humbling amount. The main raw honey producers are China, Argentina, and Mexico, and the biggest importers are Japan, the United States, and the European Union.

China is the world's largest honey producer and the largest raw honey supplier in the global market, and Chinese honey usually defines world honey prices. But since 2001, a lot of Chinese honey has been found to contain the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol. This resulted in an almost worldwide ban on Chinese honey, because, in some rare cases, this drug can be fatal to humans.
But what do you do if you are a world honey leader, if your aspirations to maintain this world dominance still stand strong, and some of your largest markets suddenly close their doors in your face?

Most of us don't realize that brand honey is big business, and the global food industry is more than willing to choose a cheaper, impure product over the real thing to appeal to our desire for something "healthy" and "pure". sumber

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