A test conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that some major Indian honey brands including Dabur, Patanjali, and Emami failed in adulteration tests of their products.
The CSE researchers chose 13 high and smaller manufacturers of processed and uncooked honey being bought in India to test their purity.
Among big brands, only Marico’s Saffola Honey cleared all the tests, pointing to the level of adulteration among popular honey labels, the CSE said. Smaller brands, on the other hand, failed laboratory tests for both Indian and foreign standards.
According to the CSE, honey, which is a natural product acquired from bees, is mixed with sugar syrup acquired from rice, corn, beetroot, and sugarcane and passed off as pure a clear health hazard.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain said that “It is a food fraud more nefarious and sophisticated than what we found in our 2003 and 2006 investigations into soft drinks; more damaging to our health than perhaps anything that we have found till now – keeping in mind the fact that we are still fighting against a killer pandemic with our backs to the wall. This overuse of sugar in our diet will make it worse”.
The investigation began after tip-offs received from Indian beekeepers pointed to widespread contamination of honey by domestic manufacturers, who were allegedly sourcing sugar syrup from China. After the ban on Chinese imports recently, Indian manufacturers now locally source sugar syrup from plants located in states such as Uttarakhand.
A total of 22 samples were tested out of which only five passed. It was found that 77 percent of the samples were adulterated with the addition of sugar syrup and only three could pass the internationally accepted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) test CSE informed.
Honey samples from leading brands such as Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu, Hitkari, and Apis Himalaya, all failed the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) test while brands like Marico’s Saffola Honey, Markfed Sohna, and Nature’s Necta cleared all the tests.
On the other hand, smaller brands failed laboratory tests for both Indian and foreign standards.