China, the world's largest honey producer, is sending honey to other countries for labeling and then into the United States to avoid paying U.S. tariffs of up to 500 percent, Vaughn Bryant, a Texas A&M professor, said.
Bryant, a palynologist or a pollen specialist, analyzes honey samples from around the world to determine their origin.
Honey samples labeled as coming from Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos usually turn out to be "a little honey from those countries" with the majority of the blend coming from Chinese sources, Bryant said in a release Thursday.
The high U.S. tariffs on Chinese honey were instituted about two years ago when China nearly ruined the U.S. market by selling its honey for about half of what it costs U.S. honey producers to sell their product.
"Now there are lots of shenanigans going on to avoid having to pay those tariffs," Bryant said.