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Israeli counterfeiters hawk fake honey

An Israeli woman tastes honey at a store in the town of Kfar Ruth near Tel Aviv.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Having grown up in the south, I always remember eating black eyed peas and turnip greens on New Year's Day. Well today is the final day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish calendar New Year. And the Jewish people usually mark the event by eating sliced apples and honey. But counterfeiters in Israel are trying to take
advantage of the tradition.

From Jerusalem, Daniel Estrin reports.


DANIEL ESTRIN: In Israel, this time of year is especially sweet for honey manufacturers -- more than a million jars of the stuff are sold for Rosh Hashanah. That's 40 percent of annual sales in Israel -- sold just for this holiday. But a few weeks back, an Israeli honey producer alerted the national Honey Association that he found imitation honey in grocery stores. Instead of being the land of milk and honey, this year, you can add to that list melted sugar and artificial flavoring.

Herzl Avidor, the president of the Honey Association, got his hands on a jar of the imitation stuff, and took a taste.

HERZL AVIDOR: The taste of it, I mean, the smell of it, give us a hint that it is something not honey.

A lab test confirmed his suspicions, and all 11 tons of the product were destroyed. This is not the first time an Israeli counterfeiter has tried to take advantage of the peak honey sales period.

The Agriculture Ministry's fraud investigation unit is still searching for the culprit. In the meantime, it advised Israeli consumers to stick to well-known brands.

From Jerusalem, I'm Daniel Estrin for Marketplace.

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