Honey has been deemed the world’s third most adulterated food after research revealed that nearly one in five varieties across Australia are impure.
The study, conducted by scientists at Macquarie University, examined 100 honey samples globally, including 38 Australian honey brands from Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Of the 38 – which included expensive, boutique honeys – 18.4 per cent were found to be adulterated, meaning they have been mixed with non-honey substances.
Although most appear to be unadulterated, experts said there is one way to make sure you are buying pure honey – not something that’s been diluted with corn starch, rice syrup or other substances.
Of the 38 Australian brands – which included boutique honeys – 18.4 per cent were found to be adulterated
‘Check the ingredients on the label,’ experts from Condrell Food Products said.
‘Pure honey has only one ingredient – honey.’
Seven samples were taken from Victoria, six from Queensland, two from New South Wales, and nine from Tasmania.
Of the Victorian samples, 29 per cent tested as impure, with a third of brands from Queensland, half from New South Wales and 27 per cent from Tasmania also showing adulteration.
All of the samples sourced from South Australia and Western Australia were found to be pure.
Professor Mark Taylor and PhD student Xiaoteng Zhou carried out the testing at the National Measurement Institute, the testing facility also used by Border Force for drugs testing.
The study, by scientists at Macquarie University (pictured), examined 100 honey samples globally, including 38 Australian brands
More than half of the samples from Asia, predominantly those from China, tested as impure
Out of the international honeys tested, 27 per cent showed impurities.
More than half of the samples from Asia, predominantly those from China, were positive for adulteration.
Global demand for honey is on the rise as consumers are looking for natural alternatives to cane sugar and artificial sweeteners.
‘High demand for honey is likely to continue incentivising companies to produce adulterated or counterfeit honey to increase output volumes,’ Nathan Cloutman, IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, told Daily Mail Australia.
He said that testing in Australia is largely outdated, and more investigations are needed in order to prevent honey fraud.
‘Australia prides itself on its high-quality produce – more rigorous, more updated testing is needed,’ he said.
Testing took place at the National Measurement Institute – also used by Border Force for drugs testing – by Professor Mark Taylor (left) and PhD student Xiaoteng Zhou (right)
Today’s report, provided to a joint investigation by
‘The issue of authentication of honey cannot be ignored in the international honey market, not only in Asian countries but also European and Oceanic countries,’ the study said.
The report, paired with other recent findings, is expected to put pressure on authorities to start testing local honey.
However, Peter McDonald from the Australia Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), said it was ‘up to the individual companies that actually buy the honey to then test’.
‘I would say there is not a problem in Australia, I am fully confident the Australian honey bee industry is clean and green and we have the best product in the world,’ he said.
Today’s report, paired with other recent findings, is expected to put pressure on authorities to start testing local brands