According to news sources, several U.S. beekeeping companies have filed lawsuits under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), alleging that the defendant companies illegally imported honey from China thus evading millions of dollars in anti-dumping duties and depressing the price for domestic honey. Moore v. Groeb, No. 13-2905 (N.D. Ill., filed April 17, 2013); Adee Honey Farms v. Groeb Farms, Inc., No. 13-2922 (N.D. Ill., filed April 18, 2013).

Among other things, the complaint alleges that some of the imported honey contained adulterated antibiotics, was not actually honey and was falsely represented to government authorities as honey from countries other than China. The plaintiffs reportedly cite a February 2013 agreement between defendant Groeb Farms and the federal government indicating that the company’s “unlawful actions ‘caused losses to the United States of no less than $78,866,216’ in the form of unpaid antidumping duties” during a four-year period. As part of the agreement, Groeb Farms purportedly paid a $2-million fine. See Courthouse News Service, April 22, 2013; The National Law Journal, April 23, 2013.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.