A report in Monday’s Jinan Times exposes the seedy world of the Shandong honey industry, where the adulteration and counterfeitting of China’s honey is an “open secret to industry insiders.” The exposé claims that some 60-70% of the nation’s honey is fake, where it joins the shameful ranks of shoddy baijiu and knock-off soy milk.
The China-news reporters and translators at Danwei.com covered the Jinan Times piece, and report:
In conversations with merchants at a Jinan farmers market, stall owners freely admitted that numerous beekeeping merchants buy sugar syrup from them to mix into their honey. Buying syrup is much cheaper than producing bee honey and thus it is more profitable to sell honey that has been adulterated.
Song Xinfang, Chairman of the Shandong Apiculture Association, claims, “Presently up to 60 or 70% of honey on the market is fake.” Consumers without professional knowledge can easily be fooled by counterfeit honey because sham honey looks more like what honey is supposed to than real honey itself; it is clear, free from impurities, and does not crystallize. Thus, with its attractive appearance, enticing packaging and cheap price, phony honey has been a hit with unwitting consumers and the practice has spread.
Counterfeit honey is primarily cut with fructose syrup, beetroot, or rice syrup, all of which cheapen the product but—fortunately—are safe for human consumption. In other words, the “100% natural” label may be a lie, but save your torch and pitchfork for another melamine scare.
[Image via Zizzy]