‘Toxic’ honey from China may be on your supermarket shelf, and you probably had no idea

August 16, 2018

‘Toxic’ honey from China may be on your supermarket shelf, and you probably had no idea

Most everyone loves honey—but is that sticky, sweet substance that you lather onto your toast the real deal? Fake honey is springing up all over the planet, and is putting the health of consumers at risk.

y harvesting unripe honey, which has high water content, fraudsters then dry it artificially, take out any resin residues, and add cheap syrups.

“Unripe honey production implies faster and higher levels of production of a product that does not meet the definition of honey (fraud),” says Norberto Garcia, president of the International Organization of Honey Exporters (IHEO).

Illustration – Getty Images | Bill Oxford

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar cane have been added to Chinese honey as inexpensive filler. In fact, to lose weight and avoid heart disease and diabetes, HFCS is something you should avoid like the plague. Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.

Whilst China is the world’s largest honey producer, an odd phenomenon has made itself apparent.

Despite an increase of only 21 percent in beehives, China’s bee population is rapidly decreasing due to widespread use of highly toxic pesticides, as well as pollution caused by Chinese State-run factories—bees are on the verge of extinction in areas of China, and blossoms must be hand-pollinated by humans. The pollution to the environment has gotten that bad, and politicians in the communist Party turn a blind eye.

Illustration – Getty Images | Monthon Wa

Strangely, although China’s bee population is dying out, the country’s honey output is only increasing. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China produced 461,431 tonnes of honey in 2013, 474,786 tonnes in 2014, 488,726 tonnes in 2015, and 502,614 tonnes in 2016.

How can China be producing so much more honey than their bee population could possibly be making?

The answer lies in honey fraud

Syrup produced from rice is harder to detect, and by adding it to honey, Chinese fake honey producers can produce a massive surplus, and it’s not limited to just that.

Illustration – Getty Images | Frank Rothe

“There is no single method for authenticity testing for honey—because there are so many ways of adulteration,” says Dr. Stephan Schwarzinger, a professor of structural biology at the University of Bayreuth, according to Euractiv.

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