FSSAI has issued an order dated 20 May 2020 related to import of Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup. It has come to the notice of the FSSAI that Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup are being used sometimes in the production of honey as these syrups are similar in physical properties to honey and are easily available, besides they are cheaper than honey. The FSSAI has issued this notice to ensure the quality of honey is maintained.
The FSSAI would like to ensure that there is no misuse of imported Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup in the production of honey so that the quality of honey is not deteriorated. The FSSAI has directed all importers/ Food Business Operators, who are importing Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup into India, to submit necessary documents at the scrutiny stage and before clearance, to the concerned Authorised Officer. They need to furnish the details of the manufacturer(s) for end use, to whom the aforementioned imported food items will be supplied.
The Authorised Officers are directed to carry out the clearance of Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup imports only after ensuring the necessary documents and fulfilment of other requirements of FSSAI have been met. Further Authorised Officers shall share details of the cleared imported assignments of Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup with the concerned Central Designated Officer to ensure compliance of Regulatory Compliance Division order dated 23 December 2019.
In the order dated 23 December 2019 the FSSAI had directed the Food Inspectors to carry out surveillance, sampling and inspection of the premises of honey manufacturers and processors, at regular intervals, so as to check any use of Golden, Invert Sugar and Rice Syrups. The Food Inspectors have to not only 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. 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.
About Golden Syrup/ Invert Sugar/ Rice Syrup
Honey and golden syrup are both liquid sweeteners but they are not the same ingredient. Golden syrup is defined as a very thick liquid sweetener which is a by-product of the sugar refining process when sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice or it can also be made by treatment of a sugar solution with acid. Invert sugar is an edible mixture of glucose and fructose sugars, that is made by heating sucrose (table sugar) with water and is considered to be sweeter than table sugar. Rice syrup is derived by steeping cooked rice starch with saccharifying enzymes (mostly sprouted barley grains) to break down the starches, followed by straining off the liquid and reducing it by evaporative heating. Honey, on the other hand, is a rich golden liquid produced by honey bees from floral nectar. Pure honey has health promoting properties, but adulteration with Golden Syrup, Invert Sugar, Rice Syrup etc. causes honey to lose its purity and medicinal values.