The government agency instructed federal marshals to move in on a warehouse in Philadelphia, where the honey was being stored by ingredients company Alfred L. Wolff Inc of Chicago. The company had purchased the honey from Californian importer Sweet Work Inc, according to an FDA statement, which purchased it from Cheng Du Wai Yuan Bee Products Company of Chengdu, China.
The action was taken after FDA testing showed up the presence of chloramohenicol, an antibiotic that is not approved for food or feed use in the US. It is only used as a drug in the US in infection cases where milder drugs do not work, and people who are sensitive to it can develop a bone marrow disorder called aplastic anemia, which can lead to death.
No-one from Alfred L Wolff was available to comment on the situation today, and it was not clear at the time of publishing this article how the FDA came to test the honey sample. It is also not clear whether any of the honey had been distributed for use in consumer products.
The FDA Philadelphia District is in the process of investigating the affair together with US marshals. A full inventory of the goods is underway, but the FSA has said it believes then to have a value in excess of £32,000.
No theories have been publically aired as to how the drug came to be in the drums of honey.