Philadelphia, PA—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized 64 drums of honey from a Philadelphia distribution center from Sweet Works Inc. of Monterey Park, CA. The honey was imported from Cheng Du Wai Yuan Bee Products Company Limited of Chengdu, China. The drums of honey were later sold and placed in storage by food ingredient supplier Alfred L. Wolff Inc. of Chicago, IL.
FDA seized the honey because it contained an antibiotic that could lead to serious illness or death. Testing of the honey showed that it contained chloramphenicol, which is a potent antibiotic drug that is approved for use in humans with serious infections. For people that are sensitive to this antibiotic, ingesting it can be fatal because they can develop a type of bone marrow depression known as aplastic anemia. FDA stated it acted quickly to take possession of the honey because it poses a serious threat to public health. FDA is in the process of properly handling the seized goods. Sweet Works Inc. has not released any public statements as of press time.
published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2010 (published ahead of print on June 29, 2010)