Cheap Beeswax from China (What’s Wrong with It?)
China’s beeswax are much cheaper than the average price that a beekeeper in USA are willing to sell their beeswax. So what’s wrong with China beeswax? Cheap is good? No? If you knew the hidden dangers posed to you and your family’s health for using China’s beeswax, you will stay clear away from it.
If you are a seller of China beeswax, I would think that you are either simply trying to make a quick buck at the expense of your customers and their family or you are totally unaware of the health hazards that you will pose on your customers. So what’s the problem with cheap China beeswax?
The Beeswax Industry
Beekeeping is one of the most ancient forms of farming, with archaeological evidence suggesting humans have been harvesting honey from bees for nearly 9,000 years. Beeswax, a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis, is a valuable product that see increasing worldwide demand for use in cosmetics, candles, food, pharmaceuticals and many others.
When beekeepers extract the honey, they cut off the wax caps from each honeycomb cell with an uncapping knife or machine and the quality of pure beeswax obtained depends greatly on the production methods used. There are two wax extraction methods, namely melting (the most frequently used method) and chemical extraction.
Concerns with Beeswax
The quality of beeswax has become of increasing concern within apiculture. Bees keepers have constantly highlighted issues with adulterated beeswax from China with residues of pesticides and varroacides affecting the quality of american wax and honey, and also their bees’ health.
In April 2018, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council claimed a sample of imported “Beeswax” from China was 85% paraffin, and contained traces of varroa pesticide. It’s also said that China uses chemicals in their hives that may contaminate the beeswax and sold ‘Certified Organic’ beeswax containing adulterated beeswax.
China is the world’s biggest producer of honey, accounting for about a quarter of global output, but its rise to dominance and its low prices have long been viewed with suspicion. In one of the famous province in China, where much of the country’s beekeeping industry is concentrated, industrial plants manufacture cheap rice and corn syrup to be blended with honey.
China is both the largest producer and consumer of pesticides in the world. Consumption in China alone accounted for 1/3 of the world’s pesticide usage (in 2017) and the impact of this can be seen in declining bee health. In fact, there are areas of China that no longer have bees.
Some of the worst practices discovered by Bees keepers in U.S. include:
- “Cutting” pure beeswax with additives like paraffin to dramatically reduce the production cost of the product.
- Insufficient or inconsistent cleaning and filtration of the beeswax leaving contaminants that are said to be removed but not.
- Using pesticides and contaminants banned in the U.S.
- “Farming” bees by exclusively feeding them with sugar water instead of allowing bees to forage naturally, which can reduce the beeswax quality and health of the bees.
Natural beeswax is limited and expensive. Bees can only produce 1 kg of wax for each 8 kg of honey consumed.
In the EU, the EU Food Fraud Network has detected China’s beeswax to be adulterated with paraffin and stearin while in Australia, independent tests undertaken by the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) over the past three years has shown 100% of all imported beeswax tested is adulterated with chemicals and paraffin. With the Chinese stuff coming in we found one that had up to 80 per cent paraffin. And secondly, it’s got residues of these treatments that they use for varroa in it” Mr Weatherhead said.
If this imported adulterated beeswax is used as a foundation in frames by beekeepers then it is highly likely Australian honey will be contaminated by chemical residues. It also threatens products made with beeswax such as beeswax wraps, an alternative to plastics in covering food, as well as lip balm, hand creams, face creams and lipstick.
Where to Buy Real and 100% Pure Beeswax
Statistics from the European Commission shows the average price of real natural beeswax is around SGD $25 per kg in the EU to around SGD $30 per kg in Australia (just the wax, without including cost for import).
Recently, we have noticed an increase in sellers on an online marketplace selling “beeswax” priced well below the actual cost of obtaining real natural beeswax internationally. These online sellers probably obtained their “beeswax” from China, e.g. Taobao, without full understanding that these beeswax are most likely adulterated beeswax (and worse, contains traces of pesticides).
How could real beeswax be selling in Singapore for below SGD $20, which is far far below the average international selling price for natural beeswax priced at SGD $25 per kg? How is any one capable of obtaining real unadulterated beeswax below cost, unless that beeswax was not pure beeswax but adulterated with cheaper waxes?
At Singapore Soap, our beeswax are imported from the United States and certified United States Pharmaceutical Grade (USP). While we have long contemplated if importing beeswax from China could help with profit, we have decide against that for the possibility of health implications caused to our customers.
Just imagine spreading the pesticides on your skin as a balm or burning them as candles in your little ones bedroom. You will never know what are the long term health hazards involved for that short moment of exposure. As the saying goes, if its price is too good to be true, it most probably is not true.
At Singapore Soap, we sincerely hope that our business will be around for the long term by providing our customers with the best quality products at the most competitive prices around. For an internationally traded product like natural beeswax, priced at SGD $25 per kg, we simply can’t sell below cost unless we too, import adulterated beeswax from China filled with cheaper waxes like paraffin or stearin. Why pay for a impersonated “beeswax” that’s mostly paraffin waxes but priced at a “discounted beeswax” price and subject the health of their love ones to hazards puzzles us. If you are interested in real natural beeswax, check out the ones below.