Large packaged consumer goods companies including Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Hamdard Laboratories, Brij Honey, Kashmir Honey, Hitkary Honey on June 25, announced the formation of the India Honey Alliance (IHA) to create consumer awareness and engage industry stakeholders after reports of adulterated honey struck some of the biggest players in the industry last year, reported Mint. The alliance comprises honey companies, exporters, bee-keepers, farmers, processors, and science experts from across the country.
The development comes six months after the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said samples of 10 leading Indian honey products were found to be adulterated with sugar syrup, which the manufacturers denied. Only three brands Saffola, Markfed Sohna, and Societe Naturelle cleared all the tests, including the internationally accepted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy or NMR test for sugar syrup. The report led to food regulator FSSAI stating that it will consider revising standards and regulations for packaged honey sold in the country.
At the time of releasing the report on honey adulteration, CSE director general Sunita Narain had said 10 of 13 honey brands failed an NMR test, which is the only one that detects ‘Chinese sugar’ used to adulterate honey. NMR tests were made mandatory in August to screen honey meant for exports but is not part of FSSAI’s standards, the CSE report had stated.
“India Honey Alliance has already initiated dialogue with the Central Government and is working closely with the consumers as well as scientific bodies to take modern, easy-to-use, affordable, and scalable technology to farmers and apiarists. IHA has been promoting science-based quality standards for Indian honey to improve the current practices of sourcing, testing, packaging, etc,” it said in a statement.
India Honey Alliance has formed a panel to create consumer awareness and clear myths surrounding honey by bringing renowned doctors (Ayurveda and Unani), nutritionists to discuss the palliative, preventive and curative properties of honey.
“There are many myths and misconceptions about honey and its purity. Also, there were many concerns expressed about the increasing instances of honey adulteration. So, we felt the need to create a neutral and objective platform for people from the sector to come together to clear all the ambiguity and to give honey the place of pride in our homes that it deserves,” said Shahrukh Khan, Chairperson, India Honey Alliance.