04/05/2016 06:19 EDT | Updated 04/06/2016 08:59 EDT

Billy Bee Honey Is Angering Canadians Like Loblaws Did Over French's Ketchup

What's next, poutine gravy?

What's next, poutine gravy?

Canadians are once again revolting against a major food company after Billy Bee honey was accused of abandoning the country's bee industry and importing its products from elsewhere.

A petition, which had 70,000 supporters as of Tuesday, calls on Billy Bee and its parent company, McCormick Canada, to "buy Canadian honey first and help ensure that the Canadian bee industry can remain a healthy one."

"Canada's largest honey packer, Billy Bee, and their international corporate parent McCormick have all but stopped buying Canadian honey," the petition reads.

"Instead they choose to import cheaper honey from countries like China and Argentina and blend them with just enough Canadian honey so that they can still say Canadian on the bottle simply to improve their bottom line.

"There is definitely no shortage of Canadian honey!"

The petition was started by Allan Campbell, a beekeeper from Dauphin, Man., after Billy Bee told him the company wouldn't buy his product this year, Global News reported.

A beekeeper. (Photo: Ratikova/Getty Images)

"I have sold two or three loads of honey to Billy Bee for years and years," he said. "But this year, we're being told flat-out, 'No, we're not interested, we have everything we need.' That's all the explanation that a producer gets."

Campbell told CTV News that major honey companies have blended Canadian product with imports from other countries for some time.

The beekeeper said they do that because they claim there isn't enough honey available from the Great White North.

McCormick Canada spokesman Andrew Foust confirmed that Billy Bee, which has been called "Canada's favourite," makes its product using a "small portion of Argentinian honey," while its Natural Honey Farms brand uses Chinese honey.

But he also said that 85 per cent of the honey McCormick Canada uses comes from Canada.

Kevin Nixon of the Canadian Honey Council said Canadian shoppers should be careful when they seek out honey.

Jars will have labels such as "Canada No. 1 White," but this is just a grading system, he told Global News. A shopper has to check the back to see whether the honey is made from Canadian, or Argentine or Chinese product.

"I find that misleading," Nixon said.

This isn't the first time that Canadians have taken on a food giant for not supporting Canadian produce.

Last month, Loblaws reversed a decision to yank French's ketchup from its shelves after public uproar.

The backlash was prompted, in part, by a social media post in which an Ontario resident touted French's ketchup because it's made in Canada using Canadian tomatoes.

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