Capilano Honey

Capilano Honey is now selling fake Manuka Honey again risking the public’s health

Some of Australia’s biggest food fraudsters, Capilano Honey, Kerry Stokes and Albert Tse, who have a long history of food fraud, are at it again this time selling fake Manuka Honey which is used by thousands, if not millions, of people around the world for medicinal purposes.

The latest scam is branding imported Chinese honey as Manuka honey and also branding Australian honey as Manuka but giving it no rating which all other Manuka honey has to verify it’s medicinal value. As per the below email questions were put to Capilano Honey and their owners but as per usual they are refusing to answer legitimate questions which should be no surprise given Capilano was caught selling fake honey in 2018.

History of Capilano Honey’s poisonous, polluted and fake honey scams

Capilano Honey’s fake and poisonous honey scams have been going on for at least 15 years if not longer and it is worth re-capping their history in this area before we expose Capilano’s latest scam on the Australian public.

Canada and India find Capilano Honey dangerous – 2003 and 2004

In 2016 I wrote in an article titled “Australia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumers” and said:

Some of the health and safety dangers of Capilano Honey were previously reported by Fairfax Media in 2003 and nothing has changed today so there is a strong foundation to the health and safety issues being raised by Simon Mulvany.

“Drug fear prompts call for honey tests”

“Overseas testing has found honey from Argentina was contaminated by nitrofurans – veterinary drugs used to inhibit bacterial growth

“Chinese honey was banned worldwide in August because of contamination by chloramphenicol, another antibiotic drug that can lead to a life-threatening anaemia.”

“Capilano, the biggest Australian packer, has imported 5000 tonnes of Argentinian honey this year. The honey is blended with Australian product and sold locally.” (Click here to read more)

In 2010 the Indian government authority said:

Capilano’s honey sample was found to contain three antibiotics and was non-compliant with the Indian government’s Export Inspection Council’s (EIC) export standards, as well as some standards imposed in Australia itself“ (Click here to read more)

Channel 7 expose Capilano’s polluted and poisonous honey in 2008 and 2011

In 2008 and 2011 the Channel Seven show Today Tonight broadcast stories accusing Capilano Honey of selling “polluted and poisonous honey”. Capilano never challenged the allegations in court at the time they were broadcast. In 2014 Kerry Stokes, who controls Channel Seven, became a shareholder in Capilano Honey and today he still owns about 25% of Capilano.

I referred to the shows that were still on Seven’s website in court last year and Capilano Honeys’ lawyers never refuted the truth of the allegations. A quick check now shows that Seven has deleted or hidden the stories, but they are still available in an article I published in April 2018 titled “Capilano Honey sells polluted and poisonous honey Kerry Stokes’ Channel 7 claims.” (Click here to read more)

Capilano Honey sue beekeeper Simon Mulvany February 2016 – Hearing date March 2020

Capilano Honey and their CEO Ben McKee started suing beekeeper Simon Mulvany in February 2016 for injurious falsehood and defamation accusing Simon Mulvany of writing defamatory articles on his website accusing them of selling poisonous and fake honey. Companies can’t sue for defamation, so they sue for injurious falsehood which is similar.

Capilano’s and Ben McKee’s lawsuit against Mr Mulvany is a stock standard SLAPP lawsuit which is a strategic lawsuit against public participation that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.”

Simon Mulvany is waiting for the final hearing in March 2020 in the Supreme Court of Victoria and still has suppression orders limiting what he can say. Simon Mulvany was forced by Capilano’s court orders to take down the below videos in 2016 from his Facebook page even though they are clearly not defamatory but because they are embarrassing for Capilano.

The video below is Simon Mulvany showing the tonnes of imported honey at the Capilano factory in 2016.

Below is another video that was filmed at the open day where Simon Mulvany asks a beekeeper about the Chinese pollen that is fed to the bees.

Capilano Honey sue journalist Shane Dowling October 2016 – No final hearing set

In October 2016 Capilano Honey and CEO Ben McKee started suing me for injurious falsehood and defamation after I wrote an article about them suing Simon Mulvany titled “Australia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumers”. (Click here to read the article) Capilano Honey went to court ex parte (without my knowledge) and were granted wide-ranging suppression orders, non-publication orders and a super-injunction. A super-injunction is where you can’t even tell anyone there is a court case and Capilano wanted a super-injunction to hide the court case from the public because they knew it was dodgy.

The suppression orders and super-injunction were lifted in 2018 as there was no legal basis for them and the court of appeal said the super-injunction and wide-ranging suppression orders have had “an unjustifiable chilling effect on freedom of speech.” (Click here to read more)

Woolworths, Coles and Aldi running a scam selling imported food as organic – March 2017

In March I wrote an article titled “Woolworths, Coles and Aldi running a scam selling imported food as organic” which involved Capilano Honey selling fake organic honey via Woolworths, Coles and Aldi.

The article said:

A major organic food scam has been exposed which involves Woolworths, Coles and Aldi selling cheap imported food as organic food and when I asked the certifier, Australian Certified Organic (ACO), questions they refused to answer. ACO have already started with the legal threats in an attempt to cover-up what is happening as per the legal letter sent to Save the Bees publisher Simon Mulvany below.

Most Australians would think they are buying Australian produced food when they buy food labeled as organic and they shouldn’t have to read the fine print to work out they’re not. The old saying “always follow the money” comes to mind when looking at this scandal and trying to work out who’s doing what and why. E.g. How much is Capilano Honey paying ACO to use the certification label?

The scam is quite simple. Import food, in this case honey, say it is organic and pay an Australian certifier to give you a label to prove it is organic and then have the major grocery stores stock the product. A lot of Australians will buy it thinking they are buying Australian organic honey given the labels and the fact that is being sold in a major grocery store they trust. (Click here to read more)

Coles stop selling Capilano Honey’s Allowrie branded honey – July 2018

In July 2018 Coles supermarkets stopped selling imported honey and now only sell Australian honey and it is likely that was a result of the reporting that was done by Simon Mulvany and me (Shane Dowling).

I wrote an article titled “Coles starts Australian made honey war against Woolworths and Capilano’s imported Chinese honey” and said:

Coles has stopped selling Capilano’s “polluted and poisonous” Chinese Allowrie Honey while Woolworths will continue to sell it. Make no mistake this is the start of a Honey War between Australia’s 2 largest food retailers which may lead to a broader retail food fight focused on Australian made food and/or organic food.

Coles should be congratulated and supported for their actions as they are not only supporting Australian honey but also Australian agriculture producers who need a strong bee industry to make sure their crops are pollinated by the bees which is needed for plants to reproduce. So fewer bees means fewer crops and less food. (Click here to read more)

Capilano Honey exposed for selling fake honey via their Allowrie branded honey – September 2018

In September 2018 the media ran reports that food producer Robert Costa had Capilano’s Allowrie-brand tested and the result said it was fake honey. “ASX-listed Capilano’s Allowrie-branded Mixed Blossom Honey, which sources honey from Australia and overseas, and markets itself as 100 percent honey, showed up as “adulterated” in the majority of samples tested.” (Click here to read more)

Capilano to stop selling their toxic and fake Allowrie Honey. 

In January 2019 I wrote an article titled “Capilano to stop selling their toxic and fake Allowrie Honey. Now have new fake / poisonous honey scam with Woolworths” and said:

Capilano Honey published a media release on Wednesday (29-1-19) on their website announcing they will no longer sell their poisonous, toxic and fake Allowrie Honey. This is after Coles stopped selling the Allowrie brand and all other imported honey in July 2018.

The reasons given by Capilano are laughable but when their media release is put together with evidence I already had about Woolworths it exposes Capilano’s and Woolworths’ new fake and poisonous honey scam. It’s simple, they stop selling the Allowrie Brand and now the focus is on Woolworths pushing their fake organic brand Macro Honey, which is produced by Capilano and only has 20% Australian honey with the other 80% being imported. That is even worse than Allowrie which was said to be 30% Australian. (Click here to read more)

Current Capilano Honey scam – Fake Manuka honey

The current scam has 2 elements. Firstly, using fake imported honey in one of their Manuka Honey brands and branding honey as Manuka to deceive customers who are uneducated about how Manuka Honey rated.

Scam One

Below looks like legitimate Manuka Honey produced by Beevital, which is owned by Capilano Honey, at the discounted price of $17 (normally $22) for 250 grams. Capilano doesn’t say they own Beevital on their website but on the bottle, it says they are owned by Honey Corporation of Australia Pty Ltd (which is Capilano’s holding company) and they are at 399 Archerfield Rd Richlands QLD which is Capilano’s head office address.

Now, this is the giveaway. On the side of the bottle, it says “Packed in Australia from at least 10% Australian Ingredients”.

So, if the bottle of Manuka honey only has to have “10% Australian ingredients” where does the rest come from? Well, Capilano Honey won’t say as per the below email I sent to Capilano Honey’s management which they refused to respond to.

What we do know is that the fake Allowrie honey Capilano was selling said on the bottle that it was at least 30% Australian honey and when tested last year it was found to be fake honey which was most likely imported China.

Below are 2 emails I sent to Capilano Honey’s management and owners asking questions about the fake Manuka Honey:

From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 15 August 2019 15:20
To: Ben McKee <B.McKee@hivewell.com>; zz_honey <honey@hivewell.com>; honey@capilano.com.au; shaw.ng@rocp.com; info@rocp.com; capilano@wattlehillcap.com
Subject: Fake Manuka Honey – Media request

Dear Mr McKee

I am working on a story in regards to fake Manuka honey and have a few questions.

  1. Can you advise why you have the name “Manuka” on the bottle of Capilano Honey yet it has no MGO rating as per the first attached photo?
  2. Do you agree that having the name Manuka on the Capilano bottle would confuse consumers into thinking that it is real Manuka Honey?
  3. Why does Capilano Honey sell Manuka branded Honey with a rating of MGO 30+ (as per the attached second picture) given experts advise that Manuka Honey has no medicinal benefits unless it has a rating of MGO 280+?

Can you please reply ASAP in case I have further questions.

Regards

Shane Dowling

Kangaroo Court of Australia

I had no response so I sent a follow-up email:

From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 16 August 2019 15:28
To: Ben McKee <B.McKee@hivewell.com>; zz_honey <honey@hivewell.com>; honey@capilano.com.au; shaw.ng@rocp.com; info@rocp.com; capilano@wattlehillcap.com
Subject: FW: Fake Manuka Honey – Media request

Dear Mr McKee

I have a few more questions for my article.

  1. Your Bee Vital Manuka Honey sold at Woolworths says it is at least 10% Australian ingredients. Can you advise where the other 90% of the honey comes from?
  2. Can you advise how you know the imported honey is Manuka Honey that is blended with the Australian honey in the Bee Vital jar of honey?

Can you please respond to the new questions and previous questions by 5pm today (16/8/19).

Regards

Shane Dowling

Kangaroo Court of Australia

Once again I had no response which is very concerning coming from a food supplier. It tells me that it is basically guaranteed that 90% of the Beevital Makuka Honey that is imported is fake honey coming from China as it was with Capilano’s Allowrie Honey.

Scam two

Scam two is very simple as a lot of people know that Manuka Honey is high-quality honey, but they don’t realize there are different qualities of Manuka Honey.

Manuka Honey has 2 commonly used ratings on the bottle. MGO stands for methylglyoxal, the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka honey so special and UMF which New Zealand uses which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. Below is the comparison graph with MGO on the left and UMF on the right.

The problem is that many people are used to UMF which is used by New Zealand and when they see honey that has an MGO rating of 30 they think it is high quality but it isn’t. For example, one article says that Manuka Honey only has medicinal benefits when it has an MGO rating of 350 or higher which is equal to a UMF rating of 11. (Click here to read more)

What Capilano Honey is doing is that they are selling Manuka Honey with an MGO of 30 which has no medicinal benefits but Capilano knows that people confuse it with the UMF rating of 30 would is extremely high-quality Manuka Honey. See the below bottle of Capilano Manuka Honey which has an MGO of 30. This tactic by Capilano is trashing the Manuka reputation.

And below, on the left, you can see Capilano’s Manuka honey that has no rating and obviously no medicinal benefits. How much of the bottle is actual Manuka honey is unknown and Capilano won’t say. The Manuka bottle on the left and the “Pure Honey” bottle on the right have exactly the same nutritional information on the bottle which suggests they are exactly the same honey.

The average person who only knows that Manuka Honey is high quality but doesn’t know about the rating system would likely buy Capilano’s Manuka honey below, at the unbelievably cheap price of $7.50 a bottle which is discounted from $8.50, thinking it is high quality. How do they get the Manuka honey so cheap? Because it’s fake. It’s a deliberate scam by Capilano.

When Capilano Honey’s scams are exposed they don’t stop running scams they just close down the current scam and start another one.

Failure of the government to intervene

The ACCC Chairman Rod Sims should have intervened last year when Capilano was caught selling fake honey but he backed off from doing anything as he said the testing was not reliable so the chance of him intervening anytime soon isn’t great. But anyone with a social media account knows that online campaigns can and do have an effect so please read below and support.

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12 replies »

  1. I’ve just shared on FB. Thanks to your articles I stopped using Capilano products a few years ago and tell my friends. Also I have never bought Coles and Woolworths home brands. I don’t trust them and also I don’t like the way they wipe out competition of suppliers. Keep up the good work of exposing corruption in it’s various forms.

  2. Thanks, I stopped buying Capilano from the inception of this story. I have also put many others onto this information. I now travel to the country and buy direct. I am fed up with the corrupt dishonesty with these cheats and Thankyou for exposing them. The only reason behind this scam is corporate greed.

  3. If small business Mr & Mrs Joe Public acted in the same manner as Stokes & Co Professional Criminals they would be hung, drawn and quartered.

  4. Woolworths needs to be investigated for all the scams it is involved in, Capilano fake ‘Manuka’ is just one of the frauds it profits from. I stopped buying any brand of honey from supermarkets two years ago when I became aware of what these supermarkets were up to. If you want good clean homegrown honey it can be found quite easily, at green grocers, fruit and veggie shops, weekend markets and private producers. Yes you will of course pay more but as we all know you only get what you pay for.

  5. Have been following Ben’s story & his fight for a long time. Good luck with the Walkleys & great work in supporting Ben as you have done for so long too.

  6. “[…] How much is Capilano Honey paying ACO to use the certification label? […]”

    The *trickle-down* effect from “always follow the money” is simply “alway$ hollow the honey”.

  7. Literally just come from Peninsula Honey with 2 1 kg pots of beautiful fresh AUSTRALIAN honey. I can’t understand why anyone would risk this toxic rubbish Capilano sells and Woolworths, Coles and Aldi….hand your heads in shame!!!

  8. Capilano have had a long history of cheating, scam and fake…What I wonder is why they’re still there keep cheating and taking over the law without any fine or charge.

  9. The 30 mgo is the minimum honey can be sold and still be called manuka. An industry standard which legalises this con, a standard drawn up by the big players in the honey industry.
    Best to buy your honey from beekeepers at markets or through smaller outlets, some have manuka honey . OZ has over 80 varieties of Leptospermum, and a lot more beekeepers are targeting this type of honey.
    I’m a beekeeper, and as such I always check out whats on the supermarket shelves, at the moment it seems to be a deliberately confusing array of manuka products. Some of them are genuine, many of them you’d be just as well off buying a non manuka product and paying a lot less.
    And it goes without saying avoid imported honey if you value your health.

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