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Top honey brands fail international quality test

Marico’s Saffola Honey has cleared the test.

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KOLKATA: Among top honey brands in India, majority have failed to make it through a stringent quality test. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), brands including Dabur, Patanjali, Emami have flunked the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) test that was carried out at a lab in Germany, bringing focus on the adulteration of packaged honey in Indian markets.

Food researchers at CSE selected 13 top brands and some smaller brands that sell processed and raw honey in India to check their purity. The researchers found that 77 per cent of the samples were adulterated with sugar syrup. Out of the 22 samples that were checked, only five passed all the tests.  

Marico’s Saffola Honey has cleared the litmus along with two other brands – Markfed Sohna and Nature's Nectar. However, Dabur has already countered saying its honey has passed NMR test. For the record, the NMR test is required only for exporting honey, and not for local marketing in India.

After the report was released, Dabur has categorically stated that its honey is not adulterated with sugar syrup. “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 per cent pure without any adulteration,” it said in a statement.

On the other hand, Patanjali Ayurved MD Acharya Balkrishna claimed that the CSE report is an attempt to downplay Indian honey and promote German technology. An Emami spokesperson also said that its Zandu Pure Honey conforms to all the protocols during production and adheres to quality norms and standards.

“It is a food fraud more nefarious and sophisticated than what we found in our 2003 and 2006 investigations into soft drinks; more damaging to our health than perhaps anything that we have found till now – keeping in mind the fact that we are still fighting against a killer Covid2019 pandemic with our backs to the wall. This overuse of sugar in our diet will make it worse," Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general Sunita Narain said.

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