Three food manufacturers have gone through a certification process for honey, designed to combat fraud, run by standards body NSF.
The first three products to go through NSF’s True Source Honey certification process are Unilever’s Real Ketchup brand, Droga Chocolates and Honey Stinger’s snack bars.
Honey is a perennial target for food fraudsters, and put simply, honey fraud can be narrowed down to two scenarios: either non-compliance with an origin name resulting from mixing of honeys from several varieties; or the deliberate addition of an adulterating substance.
A European Commission report published last year estimating that 14 per cent of honey samples tested were adulterated with added sugars such as high fructose syrups, while the US Pharmacopeia’s Food Fraud Database lists honey as the third-favourite food target for adulteration, behind milk and olive oil. Meanwhile, there have been widespread reports questioning the authenticity of some products labelled as New Zealand manuka honey.
NSF describes the True Source Honey protocol – which combines third-party audits with active third-party sampling and container shipment oversight – as a “certification programme … that traces honey all the way back to the hive.” The scheme was originally set up in 2013 by a group of US honey companies to prevent illegally sourced honey from entering the US market.
Wholesale buyers and consumers can be confident about the origin and authenticity of honey that has gone through the certification process, as well as its compliance with US and international trade laws, it says.
Food fraud – the deliberate adulteration, substitution, tampering or misrepresentation of food – has increased in significance as a result of our complex global food supply chain and costs the food industry an estimated $49bn worldwide each year.