The Fake Honey Industry
Honey being one of the sweetest gifts of nature, it is one of the purest and natural food that has a number of health benefits (Miles, 2010). Actually, that honey that is natural and raw direct from the beehive is known to have a number of incredible amino acids and minerals such as potassium, vitamin B6 and zinc among others. Honey is also known to have a number of digestive enzymes such a diastase and glucose oxidase and a number of antioxidants. However, it has emerged that not every cheap jar of honey contains all these important nutrients to the body as most of the store-bought honey is not even as healthy as sugar. Most of these honey is made in countries such as China where health and safety regulations never exist.
The WHO and the European division of food safety and other credible health regulating bodies claim that honey has to contain pollen grains in order to be real and natural. Food and Drug administration (FDA) an organization tasked with the duty of protecting the public health by regulating human foods and drugs cannot conclude whether honey that does not contain pollens come from safe and credible sources all over the world. Since most of the commercial honey undergoes ultrafiltration, a process that comprises exposing the honey to high temperatures that kill the beneficial nutrients and enzymes in it as well as adding water so as to dilute and filtering it under high pressure to get rid of pollen in the honey. This technique basically features the Chinese honey industry that is fond of exporting large amounts of contaminated honey, which officials in the industry cannot trace their origins.
According to a study that was conducted by the University of Texas, 76 percent of commercial honey lacked pollen at all, and also 100 percent of that found in the drug stores and restaurants lacked pollen, thus making it hard to trace their sources.
The study found out that it was safer but still risky for one to buy organic honey from the local retail outlets or local supermarkets, as only 29 percent lacked pollens. However, there are ways that one can use to know artificial honey thus reducing the chances of one spending his or her money on artificial honey (Olmsted, 2016). One of the techniques of avoiding such spending is avoiding buying of honey without reading its label. In the instances where the label states that the honey contains added glucose, corn syrup or other addictive’s, then this is not real honey and one has to shun from using it. Also, tasting honey to know how it tastes is another way of recognizing real honey as the fake one is only sweet with a little flavor of real honey that tastes herbs and flowers.
Putting a drop of honey on a thumb to see whether it spreads on it is another way of knowing whether the honey is pure since the pure honey does not spread. Another test for real honey would be adding a number of drops of vinegar into the mixture of honey and water and if the honey foams then the honey is not pure as it has been adulterated using plaster. Whenever real honey is put in a fridge, it is bound to crystallize with time while the fake one does not crystallize.
The other tests that have been recommended for testing whether honey is pure or not are dabbing a matchstick end with the honey and then lighting it to see whether it ignites. In the case of an ignition, then the honey is pure. Also, dissolving the honey in water to find out whether it dissolves also can act as a way of knowing fake honey as real honey does not dissolve in water but sinks to the bottom of the water (Miles, 2010).
Among the many honey brands that have been tested and proven to be fake come from the Asian nations such as India and China. One honey brand from India that has been proved to be fake is the Dabur honey that has been reported of adding 20-70% sugar into the honey. The cause of this act is because the manufacturers are in a fight to offer the honey at low prices while having low production costs. This results in the contamination of the honey by adding sugar to a little amount of real honey. This act is referred to as adulteration which aims at suppressing the primary benefit of honey by adding sugar into the honey. The refined dietary sugar that is added to the sugar lacks crucial minerals and vitamins that are found in the real honey as it comprises of mere calories.
American Choice Clover Honey is another honey brand that has been found not to contain pollen that is a clear prove that the honey is natural. When pollens are removed through the process of ultra- filtration where the honey is subjected to high temperatures that kill the crucial minerals and nutrients found in the honey. This makes the honey impure due to the lack of minerals and enzymes that make up real honey.
The honey brand along others has also been found to incorporate substances such as the cheap fructose syrup and other artificial sweeteners that are added to increase the volume of the product so that there can be the maximization of the profits (Olmsted, 2016).
The other brand of honey that has been attacked on malpractices in the processing of fake honey is the Busy Bee Organic Honey that has been reported to incorporate harmful honey processing practices. So as to standardize the taste of honey and also improve its texture, honey undergoes a pasteurization process by heating it. This pasteurization process that honey undergoes destroys those essential enzymes and in turn turns the nutrient-rich honey into just a mere sugar syrup. Another problem that has been facing the production of honey is honey Laundering as honey has become one of the staple foods in most western nations. As a result of this high demand for the product, they started importing honey from other nations such as China who in turn stated contaminating the honey market with honey’s that are not of good standards. The imposition of increased duties into the honey imported from china by the US government led to the diversion of the Chinese honey into India. With the introduction of cheaper honey into India, most Indian brands started mixing their honey with that from china so that they can sell it at cheaper prices. This has made it possible to find branded honey in china that is cheaper than natural honey.
The decrease in quality of honey has resulted in a decrease in honey consumption in India and other nations due to the risk of consuming impure honey. Therefore it is advisable for people to practice the honey purity tests so as to avoid the consumption of impure honey that has been introduced in our markets. Also, the government has to come in and pass regulations that will control the quality of honey being produced for human consumption.
Miles, E. (2010). Honey. Fitzgerald Books.
Olmsted, L. (2016). Real food/fake food: Why you don’t know what you’re eating & what you can do about it.