Although consumers won't be reading "Made in China" on honey labels, a new study published in the UK's Globe and Mail tells of the almost spy thriller–like process in which honey produced in China travels through southeast Asia and onto millions of tables—and into millions of stomachs—around the world.
Most of the 1.2 million metric tons of honey produced in China each year do not come straight from hives.
"Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market," reports The Globe and Mail.
It's not a pretty sight, especially in China—where the overwhelming majority of the honey eaten around the world originates. Beekeepers in China often attempt to maintain healthy hives by feeding their bees antibiotics that are banned in North America because the drugs can seep into and contaminate the honey.
According to The Globe and Mail, in China, packers often use sugar or corn-based syrups to make honey more palatable to consumers.
The National Academy of Sciences says that the bee population in China has seen a dramatic decline in recent years.
It reports that there has been a 96 percent decline in China's agriculturally viable bee population and that changes must be made to end the bees' spiral toward extinction. Agave necter, anyone?