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Adulterated Honey


 Two years ago, I bought some honey on sale at an Israeli supermarket instead of the local Yad Mordechai brand, but the cheaper honey was lighter in color and tasted icky-sweet.

Sometime later, Israeli radio ran a news report on the local honey industry in honor of the Jewish New Year, when by tradition a slice of honey-dipped apple is eaten. The report revealed that many apiaries feed their bees on sugar water, producing a much 'sweeter' but not necessarily healthy product; it also revealed that Yad Mordechai was {and is, as of this writing*} the onlyapiary in Israel to meet the criteria of the Standards Institution of Israel (SII).

Sure enough, when I checked the fine print of the cheaper honey, it read "imported". You get what you pay for, and since then I make sure to buy only Yad Mordechai honey - but how many products that list honey in their ingredients are actually using an adulterated or counterfeit and potentially harmful - product?

A friend objected: "Maybe there are more Israeli pure honey products, not only Yad Mordechai... (it) would be a good idea... to Google if there are any other Israeli honey companies (which) make pure honey. I am sure there are some small honey makers who sell their honey not in supermarkets, and maybe there are other companies that do sell honey that is pure in supermarkets."

The problem with all these other products is: how to prove it? As with fake or adulterated olive oil, the only way to know for sure is to be or ask an expert, or get it expensively tested in a lab. Even afterwards, there's some risk of counterfeits being sold as the real thing, especially with import or Internet purchases. Nor is Google an authority on the subject; only on finding out who wants to sell what.

The problem is worldwide in scope. In ABC News' (Australia) report 'Is your honey real honey or just "sugar syrup"? [Sept. 3, 2018 on YouTube] Robert Costa explains: "There's probably half a dozen different ways that you can dilute, cut and blend honey in order to cut costs."

In the same report, Philip McCabe of the International Federation of Beekeepers' Association, who is working with Interpol on Food Fraud, estimates that "...between 30-35% of all honey on the world market is fake, is a fraud." Then he added: "At the moment, 140,000 tons of honey is being exported from China each year. They do not have enough bees to produce that amount of honey."

Sadly, I recently learned that Yad Mordechai can use up to 65% imported materials without changing its products' label claims.

Stay Healthy!

Siri Jones Rosen




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Thursday, 29 February 2024

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