CHICAGO (CBS) – Federal agents have seized nearly 60 tons of “illicit” honey – product that is believed to have been made in China under unsafe conditions.
The product – incorrectly declared as originating from Vietnam – is valued at more than $200,000, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
A honey importer in the Midwest alerted the feds earlier this year when the domestic operation became suspicious about the product, contained in 195 barrels.
Federal officials sent product samples to a government laboratory in Georgia for analysis and determined the honey had a greater than 99 percent probability match with Chinese-origin honey. Chinese manufacturers use antibiotics that are illegal in the U.S.
The investigation continues to determine where in the supply chain the private laboratory reports were altered for the honey.
“Ensuring a safe food supply is a crucial component of border security,” said James M. Gibbons, acting special agent in charge of HSI Chicago.
The seized honey will be destroyed.