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May 28, 2008 

Two Persons Arrested in Chicago Relating to Chinese Honey Imports

Two executives of the U.S. operations of Alfred L. Wolff, a German-based food ingredients company, were arrested in Chicago on Friday for allegedly conspiring to import honey from China that was falsely identified to avoid U.S. antidumping duties and containing an antibiotic not approved by the FDA.

According to
the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, a confidential informant who worked for the company told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that it was common knowledge among company executives, including one of the defendants, that shipments of imported honey frequently were contaminated with antibiotics that were banned by the FDA. Documents seized pursuant to a search warrant executed at the company's Chicago offices in March allegedly included test results showing that company officials were advised that one shipment of honey was adulterated with an antibiotic, but nonetheless sold it to a company in Texas.

According to the complaint affidavit, the shipping documents accompanying the imported honey indicated that it was produced in, and exported from, Russia, which, unlike honey from China, is not subject to antidumping duties. Laboratory tests allegedly showed that several of the containers held honey produced in China.

One defendant was arrested at O’Hare International Airport just before she was to board a flight to Germany Friday night. The second defendant was arrested at the airport after dropping off the first defendant for the flight to Germany.

If convicted, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to a story on this arrest that appeared on the FoodNavigator.com site, Alfred L. Wolff's managing director denied the allegations and said: "These accusations are wrong and shall be rebutted and we will defend ourselves against these allegations with all legal means."

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