Through a notification dated 1 July 2020 the FSSAI has issued directions for the operationalisation of the revised standards for honey in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additive) Amendment Regulations, 2019.
Standards for honey had been notified on 31 July 2018 and subsequently there was a revision for the parameter for pollen count and deletion of parameters for specific marker for Rice Syrup (SMR), Trace marker for Rice Syrup (TMR) and Foreign oligosaccharides on 29 October 2019.
- However, based on the approval of Food Authority on the method of detection of 2-Acetylfuran-3-Glucopyranoside (2-AFGP)/3-0-Alpha-D-Glucosyl Isomaltol, the specific marker for Rice Syrup (SMR), LC-MS the parameter specific marker for Rice Syrup (SMR) was reinstated through a notification dated 5 June 2020.
- Further, The Scientific Panel on Methods of Sampling and analysis in its 28th Meeting held on18 June, 2020 has recommended the method for determination of Foreign Oligosaccharides in Honey. Hence, it has been decided to reinstate the parameter Foreign Oligosaccharides also in the standards of Honey.
Besides the above reinstatement of parameters, the FSSAI has also included some other revisions in the standards of Honey amendment regulations, which are in the process of being notified. The process of draft notification, considerations of comments, if any that may be received thereon and the finalization of these regulations are likely to take some time. Meanwhile, in order to address the trade issue particularly on adulteration, it has been decided to operationalise these amendment regulations as given below.
This direction will supersede the earlier directions issued on 29.10.2019 and 05.06.2020 as and will come into force with immediate effect. However, in respect of the provisions, other than the parameters and limit thereof as prescribed under the item (V) of enclosed amendment regulations, the compliance shall commence after six months from the date of issuance of this direction.
The Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additive) Amendment Regulations, 2020 on revision of standards for Honey as given hereby have been operationalised with immediate effect. The concerned Food Business Operators shall now follow these regulations.
However, in respect of the provisions, other than the parameters and limit thereof as prescribed under the item (V) ‘parameters and for honey’ of these amendment regulations, the compliance shall commence after six months from the date of issuance of this direction.
In the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, in regulation 2.8 relating to Sweetening agents including Honey, in the sub-regulation 2.8.3 related to Honey and its by-products the definition (Clause (1) of honey has been amended to the following
(1) Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store and leave in the honeycomb to ripen and mature.
- a) Blossom Honey or Nectar Honey is the honey which comes from nectars of plants.
- b) Honeydew Honey is the honey which comes mainly from excretions of plant sucking insects (Hemiptera) on the living parts of plants or secretions of living parts of plants.
The Table (V) Honey shall comply with the following requirements has been amended and the parameters and limits will be now as follows.
(vii) In addition to the labelling provisions as given in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, the following specific provisions shall be applicable for labelling of honey:
(a) Honey shall be labelled as:
- Honeydew Honey – If the product complies with the definitions given in part 1 (i) of this standard
- Blend of Honeydew Honey and Blossom Honey – If the product is mixture of Blossom or Nectar Honey and Honeydew honey
- CarviaCallosa Honey – If the honey is derived from flower of Carviacallosa plant which is described as thixotropic and is gel like extremely viscous when standing still and turns into liquid when agitated or stirred.
(b) If the honey is obtained by pressing brood-less combs, honey shall be labelled as “Pressed Honey”. If honey belongs to any of the categories mentioned at a) above and also falling into the category of pressed honey, it shall be labelled as “Pressed Honeydew Honey” or “Pressed and Blend of Honeydew Honey and Blossom Honey” or “Pressed CarviaCallosa Honey”.
(viii) Honey may be labelled as follows, according to floral or plant source, if it comes from any particular source and has the organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic properties corresponding with that origin. It shall be in addition to the labelling requirements as given at vii) above:
- Monofloral Honey – If the minimum pollen content of the plant species concerned is not less than 45 percent of total pollen content;
- Multi Floral Honey – If the pollen content of any of the plant species does not exceed 45 percent of the total pollen content;”
A new clause (ix) has been added to Honey and its by products which is as follows
(ix) The said standards are applicable to packaged/ processed honey.”