New Delhi: An investigation conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found rampant adulteration in honey sold by major Indian brands including Dabur, Patanjali, and Emami. As Indians are increasingly consuming more honey than ever because of its immunity booster properties to protect themselves against Covid, the news is really concerning. Also Read - PSL 6: Two Overseas Cricketers Test Positive For COVID-19 After Fawad Ahmed

According to a Hindu report, CSE researchers chose 13 high and smaller manufacturers of processed and uncooked honey being bought in India to test their purity. Samples of these brands were first tested at the Centre for Analysis and Learning in Livestock and Food (CALF) at the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in Gujarat. Also Read - Coronavirus Latest Guidelines: These Restrictions Will Remain in Place Till March 31. Read Details

In all, 22 samples were tested of which only five passed. CSE said 77 per cent of the samples were found to be adulterated with addition of sugar syrup and only three could pass the internationally accepted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) test. Also Read - PSL 2021: Fawad Ahmed of Islamabad United Tests Positive For COVID-19, PSL Match Delayed For Two Hours

“Honey samples from leading brands such as Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu, Hitkari and Apis Himalaya, all failed the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) test,” the study said.

Among big brands, only Marico’s Saffola Honey, Markfed Sohna and Nature’s Necta cleared all the tests. On the other hand, smaller brands failed laboratory tests for both Indian and foreign standards.

The CSE investigation also said some Indian companies in the honey business were importing synthetic sugar syrups from China to adulterate honey.

Shocking results, say experts

“It is a food fraud more nefarious and 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 pandemic with our backs to the wall. This overuse of sugar in our diet will make it worse,” Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain commented.

“Instead of honey, people are eating more sugar, which will add to the risk of COVID-19. Sugar ingestion is directly linked to obesity, and obese people are more vulnerable to life-threatening infections,” adds Narain.

“What we found was shocking. It shows how the business of adulteration has evolved so that it can pass the stipulated tests in India. Our concern is not just that the honey we eat is adulterated, but that this adulteration is difficult to catch. In fact, we have found that the sugar syrups are designed so that they can go undetected,” said Amit Khurana, programme director of CSE’s Food Safety and Toxins staff.

According to the CSE, honey, which is a natural product acquired from bees, is mixed with sugar syrup acquired from rice, corn, beetroot, and sugarcane and passed off as pure –a clear health hazard.

Meanwhile, Dabur Honey in a statement denied that its honey was adulterated with sugar syrup.