Through a letter dated 23 December, 2019 the FSSAI has brought to the notice that it will enhance surveillance, sampling and enforcement to check the use of Golden Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup and Rice Syrup in Honey as there have been reports, that these syrups are being used in honey.
The FSSAI says that it has been informed that Golden, Invert Sugar and Rice Syrups are sometimes being used in the production of honey. These syrups are being used because they are cheaper, have similar physical properties as honey and are also easily available.
Since the FSSAI has already prescribed the standards for honey in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Ninth Amendment Regulation 2018 and after revision these had been operationalised in October 2019 so the use of these adulterants is a regulatory offence.
Through the present notification the FSSAI has therefore, asked Commissioners of Food Safety to ensure the quality of honey by preventing the misuse of Golden Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup or Rice Syrup in the production of honey. They have been asked to carry out inspection of the premises of the honey manufacturers and processors at regular intervals. During inspection if there is any evidence of the presence of Golden Syrup, Invert Syrup or Rice Syrup in any of the containers, jars or any receptacle is detected for which the Food Business Operator (FBO) is unable to give a satisfactory explanation to the Inspecting Officer then the concerned FBOs could have to face persecution as per the provisions contained under Section 57 of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006.
The FSSAI has directed the Food Inspectors to carry out surveillance, sampling and inspection of the premises of honey manufacturers and processors so as to check any use of Golden, Invert Sugar and Rice Syrups. The Food Inspectors will not only have to carry out periodic inspections of the premises which are in their jurisdiction but will also have to submit the action report to the FSSAI’s regulatory compliance department.
Honey can easily be adulterated with cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, and even the cheap rice syrup. Since traceability and authenticity are crucial for purity of honey so it is important to undertake honey testing for the presence of adulterants like golden, invert sugar and rice syrups besides others. Similarly, minor foreign oligosaccharides which come mainly from corn fructose syrup are also used to adulterate honey. Testing laboratories use several methods to detect the difference between real honey and adulterated honey which has added syrups.