Thursday, April 11, 2013


If India is considered the capital of food adulteration America does not seem to be lagging behind too far if recent reports about honey quality in the markets there are to be believed. Honey is a much valued commodity in the Orient and its medicinal and health boosting properties are well recognized under the traditional Ayurvedic system of Medicines. Chemically honey is nothing but a syrup consisting of glucose and fructose but this syrup is enriched by the the bees after extracting from various flowers through the process of regurgitation through its oral cavity. There are hundreds of micro chemicals present in honey some of which have not yet been completely identified. If honey is taken for its value as a sweetener only, the high fructose corn syrup now being manufactured from glucose through hydrolysis and isomerization could be a better choice. Fraudsters in the market imitate honey by using HFCS without any of the micro chemicals present in them and sell it of as real honey. According to accepted definition of honey it must have natural pollens of flowers present is sufficient quantities which confer upon the product the health giving properties. It is a sad reflection on the authorities in that country that a majority of retail stores and pharmacists are offering highly processed products containing no pollens raising doubts about the real identity of the products. Here is a take on this ridiculous situation in a country considered a super economic power in the world where its citizens are exposed to spurious food products marketed under its very nose!   

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn't exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News
"The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled "honey."
The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies.
The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled "honey."
The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies.
The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.
According to FDA any product that's been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn't honey. However, the FDA isn't checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.
Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.
Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.
Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation's premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.
Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:
•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald's and KFC had the pollen removed.
•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and "natural" stores like PCC and Trader Joe's had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen".
China has been known to be supplying spurious honey to many unsuspecting countries through unholy collusion with unscrupulous traders but with the tightened regulation in the US for import of Chinese honey, that country started using some of the third world countries to send its products under false labeling. Americans more worried about the presence of antibiotics in Chinese honey products as many honey manufacturers are reported to be using antibiotics to prevent infection of the bee population which results in contamination of the final product from Beehives with these antibiotics. Now that this fraud has been unearthed, American food safety agencies can be expected to be more vigilant in inspecting all imported honey in future.

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