The production of honey is crucial to any beekeeper. But did you know that honey adulteration is a massive issue around the world?

Food fraud is rampant in honey production and has devastating consequences for honey producers. News medical has recently published an article on food fraud and how it has impacted the honey market and named ‘’ adulteration as the greatest threat to beekeepers in the history of beekeeping, showing that the economic damage to beekeepers who produce authentic honey is approximately $1 billion.’’ Read the full article, where Ron Phillips, the Vice President of the Apimondia Scientific Commission on Beekeeping Economy, and author of International Honey Market Reports, discusses food fraud and different methods of investigation.

Honey is one of the most faked foods in the world, following products such as olive oil and milk. It is often diluted with alternative syrups such as beet syrup or corn syrup. Honey is among the top ten foods in Europe with the highest adulteration rate.

Food Navigator published an interesting article ‘’Honey producers stung by worst harvest in decades call for crackdown on adulterated imports’’

You can read the full article here and learn how European honey harvests were down 40% in 2020.

Due to honey having such a high adulteration rate, it is so important that consumers are diligent when looking at honey labelling. Honey that labels itself as ‘local honey’, is not always local honey. Honey adulteration and mislabelling has been a problem for honey producers for a long period of time.  In a study conducted by Food Safety Authority Ireland in 2006, of the 20 honeys being sold in stores labelled as Irish honey, five of those honeys were in fact not Irish honey but from Chinese/European, Spanish/Mediterranean, or South American heritage.

Not only is honey being adulterated and mislabelled.  ‘Honey’ is also being imported into countries such as Ireland at very low prices and as a result causing local honey producers to reduce their prices to stay competitive. In an article by the Insider, Kelvin Adee, the president of the American Honey Producers Association, was quoted as saying that adulterated honey had ‘depressed the price of real honey’ making honey production unprofitable as a result. Safefood have also recently published an article to their website about how adulteration of honey is leading to higher imports. This article highlights a study taken at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where out of 100 commercial honey samples from 19 different countries, 27% were of ‘questionable authenticity’’ You can read the full article here.

It is important to buy local honey from local honey producers to support local jobs and keep money in the local economy. 

Are you interested in learning more about the honey bee foraging conditions in Ireland? Our data scientists have been collecting data from Met Éireann about the recent foraging conditions here in Ireland. You can read our recent blogs here.

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