CATCH THE BUZZ- Apimondia Statement on Honey Fraud

APIMONDIA STATEMENT ON HONEY FRAUD – JANUARY 2020

1. PURPOSE
APIMONDIA Statement on Honey Fraud is the official position of APIMONDIA regarding honey purity, authenticity, fair modes of production, and the best available recommended methods to detect and prevent honey fraud.

This Statement aims to be a trusted source for authorities, traders, supermarkets, retailers, manufacturers, consumers, and other stakeholders of the honey trade chain to ensure they stay updated with the current concepts and new testing developments regarding honey purity and authenticity. It is also a guide to promote best practices for the prevention of honey fraud and all of its insidious negative side effects on bees, beekeepers, crop pollination, and food security.

2. RESPONSIBILITY
The APIMONDIA Working Group on Adulteration of Bee Products * is the responsible body for the preparation and review of this Statement at annual intervals or whenever significant new information becomes available that the group becomes aware of.

* Members: Jeff Pettis, President of APIMONDIA – USA; Norberto Garcia, Chair, APIMONDIA and Universidad Nacional del Sur – ARGENTINA; Jodie Goldsworthy, Co-chair, APIMONDIA – AUSTRALIA; Stephan Schwarzinger, Co-chair, University of Bayreuth – GERMANY; Etienne Bruneau, APIMONDIA and CARI – BELGIUM; Gudrun Beckh, International Honey Commission (IHC) – GERMANY; Ron Phipps, APIMONDIA – U.S.A.; Rod Scarlett-Shaw, Canadian Honey Council (CHC) – CANADA; Enrique Bedascarrasbure, INTA and Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires – ARGENTINA; Terry Braggins, ANALYTICA Laboratory – NEW ZEALAND; Robin Crewe, University of Pretoria- SOUTH AFRICA and Dinh Quyet Tam, Vietnam Beekeepers Association – VIETNAM.

The Working Group will ensure through consultation with the leading honey scientists, technical experts, specialist honey laboratories, or others with sufficient market and beekeeping knowledge, that the Statement is reflective of the most up-to-date information and collective thinking on the topic.

APIMONDIA Executive Council will publish the Statement on the APIMONDIA website and in other appropriate publications.

3. OVERVIEW OF HONEY FRAUD
Honey fraud is a criminal and intentional act committed to obtain an unfair economic gain by manipulating honey and selling a product that does not meet globally accepted standards for honey.

It is historically well documented that honey has long been subject to fraud (Crane, 1999), however the conditions for honey fraud have never before been so conducive or aligned. They include: 1. World honey demand seems to be growing at a faster rate than global production of the pure product (Garcia, 2016 and 2018). 2. There is an opportunity for strong profits through fraud. 3. The modes of honey adulteration have rapidly changed and multiplied. 4. Honey is a complex product to test. 5. The official method, EA-IRMS (AOAC 998.12), cannot detect current modes of honey adulteration with C3-type sugars (Zábrodská and Vorlová, 2014) leaving the market exposed to an outdated and inappropriate detection method.

Different types of honey fraud can be achieved through (but not limited to): 1. Dilution with different artificially manufactured syrups produced, e.g., from corn, cane sugar, beet sugar, rice, wheat, etc. 2. Harvesting of immature honey (before the bees have had a chance to transform nectar into a product which has the chemical constituents and composition of authentic honey) as a planned, systematic and purposeful mode of production, coupled with the active dehydration of the extracted immature product by the use of technical equipment including, but not limited to, vacuum dryers.

3. Using Ion-exchange resins to remove/reduce residues and/or constituents of honey such as HMF and/or lighten honey color. 4. Masking and/or mislabeling the geographical and/or botanical origin of honey. 5. Artificial feeding of bees during a nectar flow.

The product which results from any of the above described fraudulent methods shall not be called “honey”, neither the blends containing it, as the most widely accepted international standards like Codex Standard (1981) and the European Honey Council Directive 2001/110/EC (2001) only allow blends of pure honeys.