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Res. No. 71


Resolution calling upon the New York State legislature to pass and the governor to sign legislation that would define honey and provide standards for honey sold in the State.


By Council Member Levin

Whereas, New York State ranked 10th in the country in honey production in 2015 and is the largest beekeeping state in the Northeast, according to the United States Department of Agriculture; and 

Whereas, However, the Empire State Honey Producers Association asserts that "honey from other countries comes into the United States with labels calling it 'pure honey' but in fact much of it is not pure with items such as high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup and antibiotics added to it;" and

Whereas, According to Food Safety News, millions of pounds of honey that were banned and determined unsafe in other countries are being imported and sold in the United States; and 

Whereas, Specifically, impurities such as lead and chloramphenicol have been found in honey from India and China resulting in the European Union banning honey from these countries; and

Whereas, In 2001, the Federal Trade Commission imposed strict import taxes on Chinese producers to stop the influx of altered, harmful honey into the Unites States; and   

Whereas, According to news reports, to avoid the tariff Chinese producers began shipping their honey to other countries, such as India where it was repackaged and then sent to the United States; and   

Whereas, In 2010, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized 64 drums of imported Chinese honey because it contained an antibiotic that could lead to serious illness or death; and

Whereas, The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) of 2015, requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collaborate to enhance trade enforcement, with specific emphasis on honey illegally imported into the United States in violation of U.S. customs and trade laws; and

Whereas, Since the passage of TFTEA, special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago seized nearly 60 tons of illegally imported Chinese honey in June 2016; and

Whereas, Despite the evidence of unsafe honey importation, Food Safety News states that the FDA tests only 5 percent of imported honey; and 

Whereas, In 2014, the FDA released “Draft Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products,” which is still in draft form and has not been finalized; and 

Whereas, Advocates believe that the FDA devotes little time and effort to inspecting imported honey because of a lack of interest and resources; and

Whereas, Advocates are in favor of legislation that would impose a “standard of identification” to assure the public that honey being sold is pure and unadulterated; and 

Whereas, States such as Florida, California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina have already adopted legislation that provides a standard for honey and identified a state agency to enforce the standard; and  

Whereas, Establishing honey standards in New York would help protect consumers from being misled and protect local beekeepers from competing with cheaper inferior products; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State legislature to pass and the governor to sign legislation that would define honey and provide standards for honey sold in the State.




LS 321/Res 12/2014

LS 770