FSSAI has issued directions regarding the compliance of Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Ninth Amendment Regulation 2018. According to the notification published in the Official Gazette on 31 July 2018 the period of transition given to food business operators to comply with these regulations was 1 January 2019.
However, based on the representations received by the FSSAI from various stakeholders, the issue relating to the implementation of the newly notified standards for Honey was discussed in the Eleventh Meeting of the Scientific Panel on Sweets, Confectionery, Sweeteners, Sugars, and Honey which was held on 18 December 2018. After detailed deliberations, the Scientific Panel has recommended that some parameters can be kept in abeyance till 30 June 2019. These parameters are as follows
- TMR (Trace Markers for Rice Syrup
- SMR (Special Markers for Rice Syrup
- Foreign oligosaccharides
Accordingly, Food Safety Commissioners of all States and Union Territories have been directed to use the above-mentioned parameters, only for the purpose of surveillance. The enforcement of these parameters will take effect only from 1 July 2019.
About Adulterants in Honey
Honey is popular with consumers for its sweet taste, health benefits and for its medicinal value. However, when there is high demand for honey, chances of adulteration also increase. Owing to its unique flavor and taste, mono-floral, honey is generally considered high‐quality products and they are also the most susceptible to adulteration.
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 the marketability of honey so honey manufacturers consider it important to undertake honey testing for the presence of adulterants like rice syrup besides others. Similarly, minor foreign oligosaccharides which come mainly from corn fructose syrup are also used to adulterate. Testing laboratories use several methods to detect the difference between real honey and adulterated honey which has added syrups.
According to the new standards for honey, the permissible limits for the above-mentioned parameters were to be as follows
Special marker for Rice Syrup (SMR) Negative
Trace marker for Rice Syrup (TMR) Negative
Foreign oligosaccharides Nil
This means that there must be no traces of these adulterants in the new standards for honey.