Michigan company caught 'dumping' Chinese honey in the U.S.

Feb 20, 2013

A Michigan company has been charged in a scheme federal officials have dubbed ‘Honeygate.’

Michigan-based Groeb Farms is one of the nation’s largest honey suppliers.   The company buys honey in 42 states and around the world.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Groeb Farms and another honey supplier were involved in a scheme to dump Chinese honey in the United States. 

Federal officials say the Chinese honey was declared as other commodities and shipped through third countries. The defendants in the investigation dubbed "Project Honeygate" are accused of evading anti-dumping duties totaling more than $180 million.

Groeb Farms has agreed to pay a $2 million fine. 

“We take full responsibility for and deeply regret any errors that were made in the past regarding the import of honey,” said Groeb Farms CEO Rolf Richter in a written statement. 

Some of the honey contained antibiotics not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in honey.   None of the charges allege any instances of illness or other public health consequences attributed to consumption of the honey.

The investigation is continuing.