A report by the CSE (Centre of Science and Environment) revealed that about 77% of Indian honey brands’ samples were adulterated. CSE has unveiled a case of food fraud in country. Indian companies in the making honey business are using synthetic sugar syrup imported from China to leading to Honey adulteration.

Testing samples were dispatched to the CALF (Centre for Analysis and Learning In Livestock and Food), a multidisciplinary analytical lab at NDDB (National Dairy Development Board). 6 samples along with a raw honey sample as control were sent to testing for C4C3 sugars and foreign oligosaccharides. The examination assessed syrup sent by Chinese syrup manufacturers with claims of clearing the tests for these sugars.

C4 plants like corn and sugarcane yield C4 sugars whereas C3 sugars are obtained from C3 plants like rice and wheat. Foreign oligosaccharides are starch-based sugars may be acquired from rice or corn.

A total of 13 Indian honey brands were investigated and 8 of these are major brands. 5 are niche brands and out of which 4 sell raw honey. CSE bought samples from retail shops in Delhi and top online trading sites. The samples were then assessed on parameters specified by the FSSAI, operationalized in 2020. 17 out of the 22 samples (77 %) were detected to be blended.

However, leading honey brands repudiated these allegations, affirming that they abide by the norms set by the FSSAI.

Dabur Honey claimed via a statement that these reports were targeted to defame their brand.
The statement asserted- “We promise our consumers that Dabur Honey is 100% pure and original. Gathered naturally from Indian sources, we process our honey without adding any kind of adulterant. The latest reports seem inspired and focussed at slandering our name. Also, Dabur is the only Indian firm to possess NMR testing equipment in its own lab, and the same is regularly being utilized to examine our Honey before selling in the Indian market to validate that Dabur Honey is 100% pure and unadulterated.”

Acharya Balkrishna, MD of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., responded- “It seems to be a plan to malign the Indian natural honey industry and manufacturers in an attempt to advocate processed honey.”
Emami, which manufactures Zandu Pure Honey also tried to defend its product by saying that-“Emami, being an answerable brand, guarantees that its Zandu Pure Honey complies with all the quality norms specified by the Government of India and its authorized agencies like FSSAI.”

Commenting upon this matter, Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs stated- “We perceive honey as a nutritious, natural, and valuable sweetener which has got colossal utilities in food and medicinal purposes. This disclosure regarding adulteration of honey is quite shocking.”

He further added- “Nevertheless, we must not undertake any approach hurriedly. We feel that FSSAI and other relevant authorities will turn up with the accurate regulations in relation with this matter.”


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