Back to the Honey Honesty sagas.
Do we need a national registration and accreditation scheme for honey? It may also serve for a limited range of genuine Australian products that should be protected from misrepresentation, imitation, and fakery.
Domestic product integrity or assurance, economic value and international product reputations are all at risk. Obviously the current rewards for fooling the consumer are much greater than the risks. The damage to our export markets also hurt the producers and indirectly the consumer through the broader economy.
Italy and France as examples have long had to deal with these issues over wine products, cheese etc. They have schemes to provide attestion and registration, region or authenticity, and variety recognition.
While any system can be subject to fraud, any such legislated requirements can be backed up by additional penalties that target a particular industry of significance, eg Australian Honey. The penalties could specifically apply to adulteration, mislabelling or falsely stating the product origins and purity of that product. Penalties proportionate to the economic harm done or benefit gained with many many zeroes on the end might be needed to ensure the financial benefits of gaming the system are far outweighed by the consequences. There is good reason to include the key offences as criminal acts with incarceration as a penalty.
Current legislation is more intent on food safety outcomes. Issues around discription and labelling may be more a marketing misdemeanour than a criminal fraud?
Most states have in place systems for registration of commercial hives and some for domestic also. There are a limited number of producers representative groups who may support a more formalised program to remove risk from the industry and secure their integrity and livelihoods? Any penalties could go back into the industry for enforcement as well as research to aid safe honey production.
Whether our current legislation is adequate, it seems likely someone is asleep at the wheel or driving the truck full of dodgy produce? Taking advantage of the consumer and Greed may not be a malaise unique to the local Banking and Financial Services sector.
I wait with interest the 30 second fix from the latest Prime Minister and the real fix from his Deputy? Are Bee Keepers industrialists or farmers I wonder?