Honey adulteration: Dabur, Patanjali, Emami refute investigation findings

A recent study found that 10 out of the 13 brands that it sent for testing to a German lab failed to pass the standard for honey purity.

After an investigation found that honey produced by major brands did not pass purity tests, Dabur, Emami and Patanjali have refuted claims and questioned the investigations. A Dabur spokesperson said in a statement that the reports seemed ‘motivated and aimed at maligning the brand’, while Patanjali Ayurved’s MD Acharya Balkrishna told PTI that this seems to be aimed at maligning the natural honey industry in India.

A research carried out by the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi and Down to Earth (DTE) revealed on Wednesday that out of the 13 brands that it sent for testing to a German lab, 10 brands including Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu (by Emami), Hitkari and Apis Himalaya failed to pass the standard for honey purity. The research also found that honey sold by most brands in India were adulterated with sugar syrup. Only three brands-- Saffola, Markfed Sohna and Nature’s Nectar passed the purity test.

A Dabur spokesperson told TNM in a statement that Dabur Honey is 100% pure, and 100% indigenous, collected naturally from Indian sources and packed with no added sugar or other adulterants. “We also assure our consumers that Dabur does not import any Honey/syrup from China and our Honey is sourced entirely from Indian beekeepers,” the spokesperson added. The study found that some brands used sugar syrups designed to pass Indian tests mandated by the Food and Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which are made in China.

Dabur added that it complies with 22 parameters mandated by FSSAI for testing honey such as moisture content, total reducing sugar (% by mass), fructose to glucose ratio, maximum sucrose ratio, heavy metals, antibiotics, among others. “In addition, Dabur Honey is also tested for the presence of antibiotics, as mandated by FSSAI. Further, Dabur is the only company in India to have an NMR testing equipment in our own laboratory, and the same is used to regularly test our Honey being sold in the Indian market. This is to ensure that Dabur Honey is 100% Pure without any adulteration,” Dabur said.

It is pertinent to note that honey is among the most adulterated substances in the world.

Kolkata-based consumer products brand Emami, which sells honey under its Zandu brand, said that it ensures Zandu Pure Honey conforms to all quality norms. "Emami as a responsible organization ensures that its Zandu Pure Honey conforms and adheres to all the protocols and quality norms/standards laid down by the Government of India and its authorised entities such as FSSAI,” a company spokesperson said.

Patanjali, on the other hand, told PTI that it makes 100% natural honey that has tested pure on over 100 standards laid down by the FSSAI for the product. The company’s MD alleged that this was a plot to ‘defame’ the Indian natural honey industry and manufacturers to promote processed honey. “This is a game plan to replace lakhs of rural farmers and honey growers including Khadi and Village commission channel with processed/ artificial/ value-added honey makers,” PTI quotes him as saying.

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