Mon, 3 Sep, 2018
New claims: Aussie supermarkets have been selling fake honey
According to a new report, Australia’s biggest listed honey company and some supermarket chains are selling fake honey.
The report has claimed that almost half of the Capilano Honey samples taken from supermarket shelves were “adulterated” – meaning it has been mixed with other substances.
The adulterated samples were all products that blend local and imported honey, according to the ABC.
Capilano’s Allowrie Mixed Blossom Honey, which combines honey from Australia and overseas, advertises itself as 100 per cent honey but showed up as “adulterated” in most of the samples tested.
However, Capilano has denied the allegations and criticised the controversial Nuclear Magnetic Resolution test, which was used in the investigation.
Although the Nuclear Magnetic Resolution test detects impurities, it is different from the official honey purity test that is used in Australia.
The report has ignited debates between the Federal Government as well as local and international regulators, over how honey purity is tested.
Following the report, Aldi pulled one of the affected products from shelves as a precaution.
The executive director of the Australian Honey Bee Industry, Trevor Weatherhead, believes the report was “vague”.
“I hadn’t known about it until this morning,” Mr Weatherhead said in an interview with 3Aw.
“It’s interesting that they say it’s adulterated but they don’t say what it is.”
However, president of the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Association (Apimondia), Phil McCabe, believes the NMR test is the most accurate and thinks Aussie customers are getting ripped off.
“Adulterated honey isn’t honey at all,” he told 7.30.
“By and large [the impurity] is some kind of syrup that’s been converted to look like honey, it tastes like honey.
“Everything about it seems to be honey, when in fact it’s just sugar syrup or something else.
“Consumers don’t realise what they are buying and eating isn’t honey.”
Mr McCabe said he would refer the tests, which were commissioned by law firm Wood Mallesons, to Interpol for further investigation.
The law firm commissioned Germany’s Quality Services International lab to conduct two types of tests on the sampled honey.
One test used the NMR screen and the other used the official C4 sugar test.
The test involved collecting 28 blended and imported honey samples from supermarket stores around Australia, including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA.
According to the ABC, in almost half of the samples of eight Allowrie products, IGA’s Black & Gold private label and Aldi’s Bramwell’s private label brand, adulteration was detected.
The NMR test found 12 of the 28 samples tested were not 100 per cent pure honey.
Capilano criticised the NMR test method and said it was confident in its Allowrie honey, which is made up of 70 per cent imported honey.
“We are incredibly concerned that they are being used in isolation of more robust analytical testing, given this is also the opinion of the manufacturer (Bruker) and the two most reputable laboratories in the world (Intertek and QSI), one of which has conducted the NMR analysis,” Capilano said in a statement.
“Our concern lies in the use of these results to create doubt and confusion over the authenticity of honey and how that could be used to mislead the public and consumers.”
Capilano said it “stands by the quality and purity of all of our honey brands, including Allowrie which has never failed more stringent and appropriate testing by world-renowned laboratories”.
The ABC reported that Aldi would investigate the claims and if Allowrie's product are adulterated, it would remove the brand from shelves and further actions would be taken with the supplier.
Woolworths said it treated the accuracy of product labelling very seriously.
“We will now work closely with our supplier to review the substance of the claims in detail before determining our next steps,” it said.
Coles removed all Allowrie products from shelves in July for unrelated reasons following a range review.
IGA said the product meets all the requirements of the Australian and New Zealand food code.
Do you buy Allowrie honey? Let us know in the comments below.