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What is really in honey? EU uncovers mass fraud 


Almost half of the honey the EU imports is adulterated. Instead of pure bee honey, consumers buy counterfeit products without their knowledge.

Almost half of the honey the EU imports is adulterated.

Instead of pure bee honey, consumers buy counterfeit products without their knowledge.

Berlin – honey is delicious and – in moderation – also healthy.

But not everything that says honey on it has honey in it.

"The fraudsters are shamelessly exploiting the gaps in food monitoring," explained Chris Methmann, Managing Director of Foodwatch Germany.

Authorities can only detect possible counterfeits using the most modern analysis methods.

And they are not available in sufficient numbers.

In the past, counterfeiters have adulterated honey with sugar syrups made from corn starch or sugar cane, as reported by

Agence France-Presse (afp)


However, they now use syrups that are mainly made from rice, wheat or sugar beets - a fraud that most laboratories cannot technically detect.

EU uncovers fraud: 46 percent of honey imports are adulterated

The European Commission has therefore commissioned the laboratory of the Joint Research Center (JRC) to analyze 320 honey samples using modern methods.

The results of the study are questionable: cheaper sugar syrups – made from rice, wheat or sugar beet, among other things – were detected in 46 percent of the samples.

This is prohibited under EU law.

The specifications are as follows: Honey, as a natural product, must be pure and free from other substances and even water that could increase the volume of the product.

After the publication of the EU report, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Foodwatch is calling for stricter controls in Germany.

"Consumers bought counterfeit honey in supermarkets for years without knowing it," says Managing Director Methmann.


Almost half of the honey the EU imports is adulterated.

(icon picture)

© Gregor Fischer/dpa

Honey scam: UK has 100 percent suspects

According to information from the


, the rate of counterfeits is 46 percent, about three times as high as during the last EU control report from 2015 to 2017. At that time, the proportion of samples that were rejected was only 14 percent.

Of the 21 samples taken in France, only four were "real honey".

In Germany, half of the 32 samples taken were at least suspicious.

Specifically, 74 percent of the 89 honeys from China received complaints, as did almost all honeys imported from Turkey.

Honey imported from the UK had an even higher suspect rate: 100 percent of the samples are given in the EU report.

This is likely due to the honey being produced in other countries and further blended in the UK before being re-exported to the EU.

The EU imports 175,000 tonnes of honey from third countries annually, equivalent to 40 percent of its consumption, making it the world's second largest honey importer behind the US.

Methmann's predecessor as managing director of Foodwatch Germany, Thilo Bode, generally complains in his new book that customers in the supermarket can no longer tell what kind of quality they are buying.


List of rubrics: © Gregor Fischer/dpa

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-03-28

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