Capilano Honey

Australian Federal Government says there is “low confidence” in the testing that Capilano Honey do for fake honey

Capilano Honey cannot prove whether or not their honey is fake because “there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.” The viewpoint was in a government document tendered in the Supreme Court of NSW by Capilano’s own barrister Monique Cowden.

The background to this is Capilano Honey’s and Ben McKee’s (the company is now known as Hive and Wellness Australia) injurious falsehood and defamation case against me claiming I caused them damage when I accused them of selling poisonous and fake honey in an article I published in October 2016 titled “Australia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumers“.

The federal government department, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), issued the statement in November 2018 after they investigated a complaint by Robert Costa that Capilano Honey was selling fake honey via their Allowrie brand honey which was 70% imported Chinese honey.

The ACCC found that the “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing” done in Germany by Robert Costa “is not yet reliable enough to determine whether honey is adulterated”.

Capilano’s barrister Monique Cowden claimed in court on Thursday (28/5/20) that the ACCC statement proved the Capilano Honey was not selling fake honey via their Allowrie brand. But that was clearly untrue as all the statement says in relation to the NMR testing is that it is “not yet reliable enough” as it is a new testing method.

Unfortunately for Capilano Honey the ACCC also investigated the method of testing that Capilano Honey has been using for all of its honey including its flagship Capilano branded honey and found that there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey”. In other words, all of Capilano Honey’s brands cannot be guaranteed to be pure honey.


Capilano Honey has to prove that their honey is not fake as part of their injurious falsehood claim against me which by their own evidence, the ACCC statement they tendered in court, they can’t do. It will go down in history as one of the own goals of the century.

Coles stopped selling Allowrie in July 2018 when they announced they will only sell Australian honey and Capilano stopped selling Allowrie in January 2019.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) statement in relation to the fake honey claims by Robert Costa in 2018 is below:

17 November 2018

The ACCC has concluded its investigation into allegations Capilano Honey Limited (Capilano) breached the Australian Consumer Law in relation to representations about its ‘Allowrie’ honey and other products.

The investigation followed allegations in the media that a number of honey products including Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey, labelled ‘pure’ and ‘100% honey’ were adulterated with sugar syrup.

The allegations were based on results arising from a testing process known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing. NMR testing can be used for a variety of applications, but has only recently emerged as a testing method for honey adulteration.

The ACCC is advised NMR testing is not yet reliable enough to determine whether honey is adulterated and therefore should not be used as a basis to support legal action. This is consistent with the approach of regulators in the UK, US and the EU.

The ACCC’s investigation found Capilano had taken steps to provide assurance, and did not uncover any other evidence that supported the allegation Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey was adulterated with sugar syrup.

“During the course of our investigation however, it also became evident that there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.

“Governments and research agencies around the world are investigating alternative testing methods, including NMR, but these are not yet developed to the point they can be used with sufficient confidence,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Since 2015, the Department of Agriculture has tested imported honey using the C4 test, which did not detect adulteration in ‘Allowrie’ honey or some supermarket private-label products.

“The ACCC understands that where there are different tests for honey products that produce different results, it can cause significant frustration among consumers and industry,” Mr Keogh said.

“We understand the Department of Agriculture, which is best placed to determine the most appropriate form of honey testing, is reviewing testing standards.”

“It’s important that consumers have confidence in the claims made about the foods they purchase, including honey. The ACCC urges the honey industry and the Department of Agriculture develop an agreed approach to testing, and implement more robust programs to provide greater assurance about the integrity of their products,” said Mr Keogh.


The allegations raised with the ACCC in September 2018 related to blended Australian and imported honey and not Capilano’s Australian honey range. Consequently, the ACCC’s investigation only focused on Capilano’s blended imported and Australian honey product under the Allowrie and certain supermarket private label brands.

The inspection of imported honey is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture does not use NMR testing to test honey for adulteration.

Release number:
To win their injurious falsehood case against me Capilano Honey needs to prove 4 things. 1. That I published the article, 2. what I said was false, 3. that they had a financial loss because of what I wrote and 4. that I wrote it with malice. If they fail to prove one element that will be fatal to their claim.
In the Supreme Court of NSW on Thursday (28/5/20), which I appeared via video link from Queensland, Capilano’s barrister Monique Cowden claimed that I was biased and always write and report negative things about Capilano Honey which Ms Cowden said proved malice by me.
Ms Cowden said I never publish positive things about Capilano such as the above statement by the ACCC which Ms Cowden said vindicated Capilano Honey and supported their injurious falsehood claim against me.
Well, I decided I would publish the ACCC statement in full as per above to keep Ms Cowden and Capilano happy and it clearly doesn’t support Capilano Honey but is, in fact, fatal to their claim because based on the ACCC statement Capilano cannot prove their honey is not fake adulterated honey.
It’s worth noting that “Leaked emails from the local peak industry group, the Australian Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), of which Capilano is a financial member and has board representation, show it wrote to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in July 2018 requesting it review the way it tests honey, ditching the old C4 test and moving to NMR.” And Ben McKee has also called for the introduction of NMR testing. (Click here to read more) But that doesn’t affect this case.
Capilano makes false claims on its Facebook page
Capilano Honey is no longer a listed company and it is now only a brand of the parent company Hive and Wellness Australia but they still run a Facebook page which they have been using to tell lies claiming that the ACCC cleared them of selling fake honey. The lies I suspect would be in breach of the Trade Practices act.
Capilano wrote on the 25th May 2020:
Notice how Capilano Honey is all spin on their Facebook page. They claim they handed over tests results etc to the ACCC but they have refused to hand over test results in their court case against me. They claim that the ACCC found that Capilano had taken appropriate steps to make sure their honey was free from adulteration when the ACCC statement says “there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.”
Capilano Honey also claim above that they are the largest buyer of Australian Honey etc but they don’t want the public to know their parent company, Hive and Wellness Australia, is also the largest importer of honey with their latest brand at Woolworths being Cloverdale Honey which is 90% imported honey. That means Hive and Wellness are putting Australian beekeepers out of business with their low-quality imports.
Capilano has also been using the Capilano Facebook page to defame me in the last few days so I took a screenshot and tendered it in court on Thursday.
The Capilano Honey v Shane Dowling matter was in meant to run from Monday to Wednesday this week but was extended to include Thursday and also next Wednesday (3/6/20) afternoon at 2pm for me to give my final submissions. Capilano Honey’s barrister Monique Cowden finished her submissions on Thursday, and she made many knowingly false statements from the bar table as per above.

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7 replies »

  1. Who is allowing inferior product into Australia in the first place,I for one, feel let down that it comes into Australia full stop, & for so long. I don’t think a new name on an old game will wash clean doubts that are ongoing, still the dance & fancy talking go on, leaving honest beekeepers, legally silenced , money talks & those who have plenty are pulling the strings. Where is integrity? I’m thinking the “stuff” that is imported literally by the shipload, wouldn’t get through customs by you or I, this, by any reasonable consideration is, a Farce,

  2. Pure honey can relieve/cure dreadful leg ulcers where no other medicine works. These thieves should be jailed.

  3. Well done. I’ll share the news regarding these grubs. Hopefully if other people share as well it will have a major impact on Capilano’s bottom line.

  4. It should be banned, if we sent inferior products to China they would stop them, as we should. Our government has no balls, when some other country says jump they just say how high.

    • Australia was set up so as to exploit its resources. The Judicial system as we have discovered aids and abets this plunder by a race of pirates from which many of them have descended from. Yes they are a bunch of gutless wonders who like to dress up in wigs and gowns because it makes them feel important but when one stands up to them they prove their cowardice and run and hide. .

  5. This case is revealing a systemic problem that has been ongoing for the past 25 years on our borders. That is the failure of the Government to provide adequate testing facilities in order to protect the wealth of Australians. The problem magnifies when we see how it destroys our local industries who comply with Australian standards when producing their products. The failure to test is allowing dangerous food products, building products and many other items that we use on a daily basis. This failure to implement a thorough testing procedure at every point of entry is a national disgrace and require immediate implementation. I will bet the Japanese have a way of testing the honey to ensure it is genuine and if not they would not allow it into the country.

  6. Interesting story, Capilano Honey at Richlands in Brisbane used to receive large deliveries of Molasses contained within IBC’s from Bundaberg Sugar, was odd that a company that sold honey would require so much molasses…

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