New York's senior senator is floating like a butterly and stinging like a bee.
Sen. Charles Schumer wants a national standard for pure honey to sting fraudulent imports from China that are hurting an American honey market valued at up to $12 billion.
Schumer is asking the federal food and drug commissioner for a standard that would halt imports of adulterated or mislabeled honey from abroad.
It's called "honey laundering" and Florida and Wisconsin have enacted their own pure honey standards, with other states preparing similar legislation to protect their markets.
Honey laundering includes intentionally mislabeling shipments of honey and setting up shell companies to disguise the country of origin to avoid tariffs or limit restrictions designed to protect U.S. producers.
A Chinese executive pleaded guilty in August to a federal charge he conspired to smuggle adulterated honey into the United States to avoid the decade-old tariffs enacted to curb imports. That case in Seattle was one of two such criminal cases filed last year.
"Chinese companies, like common criminals, are honey laundering," Schumer said. "They're intentionally hiding the true origin and content of their honey."
Schumer said Wednesday that more than 144 million pounds of honey is produced each year in the U.S. The Democrat said losses are as much as $200 million a year in the U.S.
Schumer is also introducing legislation that would provide greater enforcement power at customs offices along borders.