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updated: 2/21/2013 5:28 PM

Five charged with illegally importing honey

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Associated Press

Federal prosecutors in Chicago say two companies and five individuals are charged with illegally importing honey.

Authorities claim the honey was mislabeled to indicate it was from other countries to avoid antidumping duties, or it contained antibiotics not allowed in honey sold in the U.S. They say the scheme cost the government more than $180 million.

Honey Holding Solutions of Baytown, Texas, has agreed to a $1 million fine for buying Polish honey that contained a banned antibiotic. Groeb Farms of Onsted, Mich., agreed to pay $2 million for buying Chinese honey that it knew was imported illegally to avoid duties.

Defendants also included three honey brokers, former Honey Holding sales director Douglas Murphy and Donald Courture, president of Ontario-based honey broker and distributor Premium Food Sales.

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