A new method of analysis has revealed that almost half of the honey sold in Australia, one of the largest honey exporters in the world, is diluted with cheap sugars such as rice syrup, wheat syrup or beet syrup. sugar
12 of 28 samples of honey taken from grocery stores across the country and analyzed in an accredited laboratory in Germany turned out to be mostly some form of cheap sugar syrup and not honey.
What is scary is that all these honey brands have passed official government purity tests.
This is because honey makers have become more adept at flying under the radar of common tests, the researchers explain.
The official tests, accepted internationally, only detect honey adulterated with sugar cane and corn.
Manufacturers have learned that they can not detect the difference between rice syrup, sugar beet syrup and honey.
But a new technology called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance can do it.
The German laboratory Quality Services International was the one at the request of Australian farmer Robert Costa to perform both types of tests.
While the 28 samples passed the government's official C4 sugar test, only 14 passed the MRI tests.
"The C4 test picks up most of the fake honey, because most of the cheap sugar syrups used to make fake honey come from C4 plants, like corn and sugar cane," explains molecular nutritionist Emma Beckett of the University of Newcastle.
"But the newer substitutes, like rice, wheat and beet syrups, come from C3 plants, so they will not be picked up in this kind of testing."
The CEO of QSI, Gudrun Beckh, who has been testing honey for almost 30 years, said that NMR is the most complete test to detect adulteration.
"False honey always existed, but in recent years it is a growing problem due to people who adulterate using increasingly sophisticated methods, making it more complicated to detect it," he said.
A study conducted in 2018 revealed that an additional 27 percent of other Australian brands of honey had been diluted with cane sugar or corn syrup, using the traditional C4 test method.
The contaminated brands were those that had foreign honey, typically from China, mixed with them, not 100% Australian honey.
Although there is no standard or purity test for honey in the United States, the problem is likely to be similar or worse.
A 2011 lab analysis showed that 76 percent of the honey sold in the United States does not contain pollen, indicating that it probably comes illegally from China, is diluted with cheap sweeteners and contains illegal antibiotics.
Food Safety News commissioned Professor Vaughn Bryant of the University of Texas to test 60 brands of honey sold in supermarkets in the United States.
76 percent of samples from grocery stores and 100 percent of samples from pharmacies and fast food restaurants did not contain pollen.
The elimination of all honey pollen "makes no sense," Mark Jensen, president of the American Association of Honey Producers, told Food Safety News.
"The elimination of all pollen can only be achieved through ultrafiltration and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and decrease the quality of honey," he said.
"In my opinion, it is quite safe to assume that any ultrafiltered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it is even safer to assume that it entered the country without being inspected and in violation of federal law."
"It is not a secret to anyone in the business that the only reason that all the pollen is filtered is to hide where it comes from initially and the fact is that in almost all cases it is China," added beekeeper Richard Adee. .
The FDA has sent a letter to the industry stating that "the FDA does not consider 'filtered honey' to be honey," Tamara Ward press officer told Food Safety News.
The purchase of brands labeled as organic increases the chances of it being real honey. The laboratory found that 71% of the brands labeled as organic were pollen rich.
Perhaps a better way to ensure that honey is real is to buy organic and unfiltered honey.
Two tablespoons of unfiltered honey contain approximately 20 vitamins, 18 amino acids, 16 minerals and a large amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Honey is an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal substance. It is also highly nutritious. It contains significant amounts of B2, B3, B5, B6, C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulfur and phosphate.