Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 2
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) investigation on Wednesday has revealed that "nefarious adulteration business of honey designed to bypass purity tests and massive implications for our health during COVID-19 times".
The CSE investigations with laboratory studies in India and Germany revealed that "rampant adulteration in honey sold by major brands in India—77 per cent of samples founds adulterated with sugar syrup," a said CSE statement.
"Only three out of 13 brands pass the internationally accepted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) test. Indian standards for honey purity cannot detect the adulteration. This is because Chinese companies have designed sugar syrups to bypass these standards," according to the Centre for Science and Environment, which earlier, unearthed pesticides in major soft-drinks.
"This food fraud severely compromises public health in the troubled times of COVID-19. Indians today are consuming more honey because they believe in its intrinsic goodness – antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties – and to build immunity against the virus".
"But if it is adulterated honey, what we are eating is sugar, which will add to the challenge of overweight and obesity, which in turn makes us more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection," said CSE Director General Sunita Narain.
According to Narain, nearly all the top brands, including Dabur, Patanjali, Apis-Himalaya Baidyanath, Zandu and Hitkari failed the test.
Major findings included as follows:
1. 77 per cent of the samples were found to be adulterated with the addition of sugar syrup.
2. Out of 22 samples tested, only five passed all the tests.
3 Honey samples from leading brands such as Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu, Hitkari and Apis Himalaya, all failed the NMR test.
4 Only 3 out of the 13 brands—Saffola, Markfed Sohna and Nature’s Nectar (one out of two samples)—passed all the tests.
As of August 1, 2020, NMR tests have been made mandatory.
"It is a food fraud more nefarious and more sophisticated than what we found in our 2003 and 2006 investigations into soft drinks; more damaging to our health than perhaps anything that we have found till now – keeping in mind the fact that we are still fighting against a killer COVID-19 pandemic with our backs to the wall. This overuse of sugar in our diet will make it worse", concluded Narain.
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