To reduce cost and increase margins, some unscrupulous honey manufacturers have resorted to adulterating pure honey by mixing sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup or rice syrup, with the honey. Most of the adulterated honey is known to originate from China.
Chloramphenicol, a powerful form of antibiotics is also frequently detected as a contaminant in honey from China. Chloramphenicol is banned for use in food-producing animals in many countries due to its suspected ability to cause cancer and its proven cause for often fatal bone marrow disorder.
If you think that you can avoid buying tainted honey by simply checking the country of origin on the product label and avoiding China honey, think again. Exporters in China are known to re-route their honey through other South-East Asia countries and documents are forged to hide the honey’s true country of origin. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an import alert on honey exported from India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Turkey and Vietnam, after some of the honey products are found to be adulterated.
How to avoid buying fake honey.
Go for well-known International brands.
The best way to safeguard against buying possible fake honey is to purchase from well-known International brands. Singapore food labelling regulations do not require honey products that are labelled as “pure”, to specify the exact percentage of pure honey contained in each bottle. The European Union (EU) on the other hand imposes much more stringent requirements on honey labelling. Choosing international brands that are also sold in EU markets would probably be a safer bet.
Choose raw honey.
Pollen present in a honey acts like a fingerprint that identifies the honey’s primary flora source and country of origin. When honey is processed and filtered, much or all of the pollen is removed. Without the pollen, it is impossible to verify the safety and legitimacy of the honey source.