09 November 2011

Supporting your local business means not supporting any one else's local business.

Lifehacker | Buy Local Honey to Make Sure You’re Really Getting Honey, and Support Local Beekeepers

I'm really mystified by a national (international?) media organization suggesting to all their readers to support local businesses. The dissonance is overwhelming to me.

"People in Florida: your apiarists are more worthy of your support than those elsewhere. People in New York: your apiarists are more worthy of your support than those elsewhere. People in California: your apiarists are more worthy of your support than those elsewhere. People in Michigan: your apiarists are more worthy of your support than those elsewhere. ..."  I can see readers getting the warm-and-fuzzies from thoughts of supporting their local beekeepers.  But don't they simultaneously see that everyone else is being advised to NOT support their local beekeepers?

Of course I find the Buy Local movement too economically ignorant to ever make much sense,* but at least when it's a local organization advocating for it there's a consistency to it.


* I can understand as a means to achieve some other end, like wanting the freshest available produce.  Often that will happen to be local to you.  But localism-as-an-end is beyond my understanding.

PS The other part of the headline about honey-that-isn't-really-honey just refers to some honey that has been more thoroughly filtered, removing pollen and other substances. It's not ideal, but it's not some kind of masquerading frankenhoney either.

3 comments:

  1. "It's not ideal, but it's not some kind of masquerading frankenhoney either."

    Except sometimes it is. Producing a fake honey from stuff like HFCS and flavorings is cheaper than messing around with bees--and is detectable by the lack of pollen.

    Also, the Chinese have been accused of dumping honey into the US. You may not have a problem with that, and that's OK--but if you're trying to detect it, a foolproof way is to look at the composition of the pollen. Take out the pollen, you take out the fingerprints. (Apparently the Chinese are willing to go to the extremes of actually laundering it (in the money-laundering sense) by shipping it through other countries and repackaging it. They are certainly also well-known for cheating, as the many stories of food contamination with melamine and other substances show.

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  2. What has me puzzled with this story is the assertion that without pollen, there's no way to know what's in the "honey". Isn't that what we have chemical tests for? I'd certainly hope the authorities have much better tests than, "Yup, it's got the right amount of pollen, must be unadulterated honey!"

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  3. My understanding is that they use the *kinds* of pollen to trace the honey to a particular geographic area, in other words, so that you can tell if a particular batch of honey came from China. I suppose a more clever thing for the Chinese to do would be to obtain pollen from European sources. As for the authorities having better things to do, well, we live in the age of bunny inspectors.

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