Capilano Honey

Choice magazine caught in cash for comment scandal

Consumer advocates Choice have published a scandalously corrupt and biased article in support of Capilano Honey right at a time when Capilano have been under fire for selling poisonous and toxic honey. At the same time Australian broadcaster SBS have published a well-researched and investigated article that proves that there is poisonous and toxic food on Australian supermarket shelves. So why have Choice thrown their own reputation under a bus?

Choice say on their website “Save time and money – Products and services rigorously tested, rated and reviewed. No spin.” My investigation shows this is a huge lie by Choice because for example there was no testing of the Capilano Honey nor was it rated as no other brands were mentioned to compare it to. And the most detailed analysis and report currently available on the poison in Honey in Australia by The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) was totally ignored and concealed from Choice’s readers and members. The report raised serious issues regarding pesticides being found in “bees, pollen, and wax” in the US and killing bees in Australia. (Click here to read the report)

The only conclusion you can draw is that Choice have been involved in a cash for comment scandal that is quite common in Australia. I wrote about one of Channel Ten’s cash for comment stories in March and Channel Seven were caught out in September on Media Watch doing another cash for comment story on their nightly news.

Who are Choice?

It says on Wikipedia:

Choice is an Australian not for profit consumer organisation, previously known as the Australasian Consumers’ Association. It is a non-partisan organisation that was founded in 1959 which researches and campaigns on behalf of Australian consumers.

The aim of the organisation is to provide up-to-date information across a wide range of consumer issues that allows individuals to make informed consumer decisions. It also lobbies for change on behalf of consumers when required. Choice tests and rates a range of products and services, including appliances, baby products, electronics and home entertainment, computers, food and health and financial products and services. More than 170,000 people subscribe to Choice. (Click here to read more)


Bees dying and honey being toxic and poisonous has been a global issue for several years. In February 2016 Capilano Honey instituted defamation proceedings against Simon Mulvany because he wrote about the health and safety dangers of Capilano Honey.

On the 17th September 2016 I wrote an article titledAustralia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumersthat went viral and initiated other media reports in Australia and Asia. In the article I raised various health issues with honey including illegally feeding bees antibiotics, irradiated pollen from China, toxins and alkaloids in honey. I have also raised pesticides in honey.

On the 23rd of September 2016 The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources published a media release titled “The safety of Australian honey. It is my understanding they did this at the request of Capilano Honey. The media release was clearly an attempt to rebut the allegations that I raised in an article I published on the 17th of September 2016. But the media release only dealt with the issue of imports and even that was misleading. But that didn’t stop Capilano Honey using it in an attempt to claim all their imported honey was safe for consumption.

The Choice article

On the 28th September 2016 when Capilano Honey were in most need, given the negative press, Choice published a corrupt and biased story supporting Capilano Honey titled “What’s the buzz about honey? (Click here to read or Click here to read a PDF of the story)

Choice interviewed Ben McKee but failed to interview me regarding my article that instigated the most recent bad press for Capilano Honey. Choice also didn’t interview Simon Mulvany or the website Tasty Honey which has numerous stories questioning Capilano Honey’s imports on their blog.

I wrote to Choice about their scandalous story as per the email below and as you can see from their response they refused to answer legitimate questions in the same manner any corrupt organisation would refuse to answer questions.

On the 7th of October 2016 Capilano Honey took out a Super-Injunction against me to take down 2 articles which I ignored on the basis that the Super-Injunction was illegally issued.

On the 28th of October 2016 SBS published the story “Australian supermarkets revealed to be selling dangerous or banned foods”.

News reported: “An alarming number of heavy metals, carcinogenic insecticides and arsenic chemicals has been found in foods being imported into Australia (Click here to read more)

The SBS story raised serious issues regarding food imports from India including brands like Nestle.

SBS “sent 18 products purchased at Indian Specialty stores across greater Melbourne to the National Measurement Institute, a food testing lab accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities.”

“The tests revealed two instances of products which failed Australian food safety standards and one instance of a completely banned food that is somehow slipping through Australian customs checks on food imports” (Click here to read)

SBS video – poisoned food being imported into Australia

Below is a 3.45 minute video of the SBS story about poisoned food being imported into Australia and has expert opinion from a number of scientists.


If SBS can spend money having food tested than why can’t Choice. Even more so given Choice’s website talks-up their own testing facility at Marrickville in Sydney.

Cover-up by Choice

I sent Choice the below email on Sunday the 23rd of October and below my email is the response from their Editor In Chief – Claire Gould which I received on Monday the 24th of October.

Sent: Sunday, 23 October 2016 11:15 PM
Subject: Media request – Shane Dowling – Kangaroo Court of Australia

Dear Sir/Madam

I publish the website Kangaroo Court of Australia and have some questions in relation to a recent article on your website titled “What’s the buzz about honey?” which has a publication date of the 28/9/16. The journalist who wrote the story, Rachel Clemons, claims to be an investigative journalist but has done virtually no investigation whatsoever for the story. Can you please answer the following questions:

  1. Why did the journalist contact Capilano Honey CEO Ben McKee for extensive comment but fail to contact Simon Mulvany who is the key accuser for comment? I am sure the journalist would have been aware of the article I published on the 17/9/16 titledAustralia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumers. Why did the journalist also fail to contact me for comment?
  2. Is the imported irradiated pollen from China that is fed to Australian bees that make honey sold to Capilano adequately tested when it enters the country? Did you ask Ben McKee this question? If not, why not?
  3. Will the origin of the pollen come up in testing facilities?
  4. Has any Manuka honey tested shown traces of country of origin other than NZ or Australia when tested?
  5. Does overseas ingredients within Australian honey effect Australians credibility as an exporter?
  6. Did you ask Capilano CEO Ben McKee about the widespread use of illegally obtained antibiotics on bees in the Australian industry? If not, why not?
  7. Are beekeepers showing vet certificates to Capilano when they are treating their bees with antibiotics.
  8. Has Capilano Honey or anyone been testing Capilano Honey for glyphosate (Roundup)?

I am working on my next article with a working titled of “Consumer advocates Choice caught in cash for comment scandal with Capilano Honey

Can you please respond to the above questions ASAP as I may have follow-up questions.


Shane Dowling


From: Claire Gould []
Sent: Monday, 24 October 2016 8:17 AM
To: shanedowling
Subject: CHOICE and honey

Dear Shane,

Thanks for your email regarding our ‘What’s the buzz about honey’ article written last month.

The article on the CHOICE site looked specifically at claims made about honey being toxic or poisonous. Our assessment was that the honey testing that the Australian Quarantine and Inspective Service (AQIS) and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is trustworthy.

However we do agree that country of origin labelling should be strengthened.

We stand by our story.


Claire Gould – Editor In Chief

A not-for-profit company limited by guarantee | ACN 000 281 925

End of email

Claire Gould has spent 25 years working in mainstream media so she knows what she was doing by failing to answer the questions above and I put her on notice in my email that I would accuse Choice of cash for comment which she has not denied or challenged. Claire Gould’s Linkedin profile.

It is interesting that Claire Gould says “honey testing that the Australian Quarantine and Inspective Service (AQIS) and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is trustworthy“. Well we know by the SBS story their testing is almost non-existent let alone trustworthy. And why does Claire Gould not mention The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) report which raised serious questions with Australian Honey?

Choice have a lot of questions to answer but so far they’re answering none which is the same as Capilano Honey.

I’ll be writing another article on this topic soon as it is too important to let rest now and my investigation has already progressed further than the above. I suspect by the time we’re finished we will be knocking on the Prime Minister’s door so to speak.

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12 replies »

  1. [quote]”Claire Gould – Editor In Chief

    A not-for-profit company limited by guarantee | ACN 000 281 925″[un-quote]

    Is that so, corruption is not for profit either, it is greed and a lust for money by low-life people who are dishonourable toward Australia and fellow Australians.

  2. I have stopped buying Capilano/Allowrie products, and will never buy Choice magazine again. Once Australia knows about this, those two companies are toast.

  3. I cancelled my subscription to Choice many moons ago for the simplest of reasons. It invites feedback from readers but several attempts from me weren’t even acknowledged. I even took to registered mail, when Choice denied hearing from me, but again no response. Choice seemed to like favourable comment on its conclusions but appears to be less interested in suggesting areas it should, perhaps, cover but doesn’t.

    • Ditto – Choice is certainly not as trustworthy as they profess to be. If anything, I liken them to protected con-artists. I cancelled my subscription to them after about 2 years in the mid 1990’s when I woke to them. Back then it was an article on insurance that had me questioning impartiality & bias.
      As to the honey, I prefer to buy local & will stock up with bulk purchases. Farmer’s markets, country stalls, etc. At least I know I am supporting a local & the product actually has a decent taste.

  4. Ever since reading the story regarding the issue of foreign contamination and threat to our own industry, I have refused to ever again buy any product from Capillano.
    Regards the article on Choice, I have known for many years now, the majority of their work is nothing but a commercial for companies manufacturing the product that Choice focuses on at the time, just as channel 9 or channel 7, constantly give us news when in fact the whole thing is a commercial selling someone’s product.
    It appears our society today, has lost all pretence of doing what’s right, that is, if they even still know, what the right thing is.
    I’ve also come to the conclusion, we cannot rely on our Government, or its authority departments to do the right thing by Australians, they have trashed our import restrictions, trashed our quarantine policies allowing foreign insects and organisms into our country with impunity.
    And if we think this is bad, wait until the TPP becomes functional, then it’s all over bar the laughing by the Corporations, and our politicians running to the off shore banks to check their bank balances.

  5. How many so called Australian companies are doing a “Capilano” with their products. Capilano’s products need to be put thru a Spectrum Analysis & results posted on the web. Company doing the analysis needs to be out of Australia & an accredited independent analysis company that is proven unable to be swayed to fudge reports.

  6. Eddy is right, we cannot rely on our Government etc. to do the right thing, particularly with regards to certification of standards.
    As an example, the certification of imported *first-of-type transport category aircraft has gone the same way. Previous policy required an Australia certification engineering team to visit the manufacturer of all first-of-type transport category aircraft. It was stopped by Dick Smith as CEO of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as being too costly etc. CASA now basically automatically accepts the certification of the country of manufacture if they are a recognised State. Clearly, the Government made a decision not to thoroughly oversight goods imported into Australia on the basis of cost and efficiency long ago.
    Unfortunately, we have lost the the necessary expertise even to check things out when problems arise, such as with Capilano, and the industry knows this.

    * roughly, a passenger carrying aircraft type design that Australia has no knowledge of.

  7. Choice! I asked them to investigate another product years ago because consumers were being ripped off. When I phoned they refused saying, “We can only investigate what we are TOLD to investigate “.
    This confirms that Choice is not for the consumer but rather their every effort is based on self-interest and stuff us, the consumer.
    Truth always wins out! Always.

  8. I caught the last part of Landline on ABC with Capilano rep saying they have 600 beekeepers in Australia~ no mention of the imported stuff. A commercial beekeeper stated in the future-they may add antibiotics to the hives if necessary in the future & Australia was the last of honey making countries to be pure honey/no pesticides etc, did anyone else see the whole programe? There is a brand of honey named PANDA – ive tried to find a website that is current for them-they state 100% Australian honey, does anyone know if they are another Capilano brand?
    My comment on the Choice fiasco is-“where is your integrity”- you claimed to have it, you can’t claim to have some integrity, you either have it or you don’t.

    • Integrity takes decades to achieve.Whoever now ‘riuns’ choice has done it with one bs article.
      So how many other crap choice articles have been paid for?
      Remember the cash for comments court cases.
      No choice, but to put it’s credibility into the bin.
      If choice wants to redeem, put this article and comments on the choice site to enable feaders to have a choice.

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