The honey trade between the EU and China has turned bitter according to one MEP, who has branded current arrangements between the two powers as being "unfair" to European beekeepers. (Photo by Frank Hoensch/Getty Images)


Not Okay, Honey! Almost half of all EU imports are ‘laundered’


The honey trade between the European Union and China has soured, according to one MEP who branded current arrangements between the two powers regarding the sweet delicacy as “unfair” to European beekeepers.

Gilles Lebreton, a member of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party, has lashed out at rules enforced by China amid reports that almost half of all honey imports into Europe are either not honey at all or are mixed with sugar syrup.

A substantial amount of this “honey-laundered” product is said to have originated in the Communist nation, which has been accused of flooding the European market, causing prices to plummet.

Writing to the European Commission, Lebreton complained that large amounts of dubious Chinese product are being imported into the bloc at a time when Beijing is enforcing arbitrary restrictions on the import of EU honey.

“China bans some European honey from entering the country citing questionable health reasons,” he claimed. “This unfair competition is causing concern among EU honey producers, who are facing increasing difficulties.”

The French MEP went on to ask the EC what measures it was willing to take to “remedy the situation”, and if it was in talks with China regarding the import bans.

Responding, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides noted that efforts were underway to tighten labelling rules for honey across the bloc, with the EC also pushing for national authorities to increase controls on imported honey products.

“These actions, combined with the on-going developments and accreditations of more sensitive analytical techniques, would help [in] deterring frauds and sanctioning fraud perpetrators,” she said.

Kyriakides added that, while there had been no recent conversation between European and Chinese authorities on the issue, Brussels officials would continue to push for any import bans by the Far East country to be “proportionate” and only implemented in regards to protecting human health in line with “scientific principles”.