Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honey Laundering

I'm just a bit skeptical of the Honey Laundering story that's running around.  First of all, the story raises the scary specter that Chinese honey that's contaminated with antibiotics is being sold in the US, but doesn't actually say that. What it really says is that the honey they tested might be Chinese because it has no impurities that could be used to determine its country of origin.  That's not the same thing. Did they test for antibiotics? If so, what were the results? If not, why not?

In fact, the article says that the industry does its own tests for a variety of hazardous materials. This is just about the presence or lack of pollen in honey.  Why does pollen matter? Well, there are a lot of quotes from the American Honey Producers Association saying that pollen is essential to the quality of honey, but the only thing close to an actual reason we're given is some vague notions on health benefits from the staff nutritionist at a school of 2,800 students in New England, and the assertion that local honey can help with seasonal allergies, which studies have not found to be the case, probably because the pollen that causes allergies is wind-born, not bee-born.

The article also says that the "Food and Drug Administration says that any product that's been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn't honey." But just two months ago, the same newsletter, Food Safety News, complained that "the honey industry and Congress can't get the FDA to even come up with a legal definition of what honey is."

I love good artisanal honey. That's always my preference. And food safety in this country is currently a joke.  Given the fact that there are stiff tariffs in place against Chinese honey, this sounds like it's more about tax evasion than food safety. Which is still a good story, but not quite the same thing.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Customer Service Fail

A Mediacom rep rings our doorbell on Saturday afternoon: So how's your Internet connection? Mediacom's sending a bunch of us out to see how our customers are doing.

Me: Well, actually, I've been having to release and renew the DHCP pretty regularly lately. Had a service guy out last week, but it's still happening. It's kind of annoying.

Rep: But it's actually working right now?

Me: Well, yeah.

Rep: Great! Can I interest you in putting in a phone line?

Me: No, not really.