Food Engineering

FDA seizes Chinese honey laced with potent antibiotic

July 8, 2010


At the request of FDA, federal marshals seized 64 drums of imported bee’s honey from a Philadelphia, PA distribution center because it contained a potent antibiotic that could have led to serious illness or death. The seizure occurred at the DelawareAvenueDistributionCenter.

The bulk honey was imported by Sweet Works Inc. of Monterey Park, CA from Cheng Du Wai Yuan Bee Products Company Ltd. of Chengdu, China. It was subsequently sold to Alfred L. Wolf Inc. of Chicago, which placed it in storage.

FDA estimates the value of the 64 drums of honey to be more than $32,000. According to FDA, the honey is adulterated with chloramphenicol, which is not approved for use in food, animal feed or food-producing animals in the US. Chloramphenicol is a potent antibiotic that is approved only for use in humans with serious infections when other less toxic drugs won’t work. People who are sensitive to this drug can develop aplastic anemia, which can be fatal.