Just because it's sweet and sticky doesn't mean it's 'honey' -U.S. FDA

WASHINGTON, April 8 Tue Apr 8, 2014 12:26pm EDT

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Honey mixed with sugar might be sweet, but it is not "honey."

Food companies and other producers who add sweeteners to honey have to alert consumers by labeling their products as a "blend," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

Only manufactures that do not add sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners should label their products as pure "honey," the FDA said in draft guidelines posted online.

The proposal aims "to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or misbranded," the agency wrote.

Americans consume more than 400 million pounds of honey each year, according to U.S. government and industry estimates. But just 149 million pounds were produced in the United States last year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed.

To feed America's sweet tooth, much honey is imported, and U.S. producers are worried about cheap substitutes.

Pure honey is generally more expensive than those mixed with corn syrup and traditional sugar, and prices reached a record high of $2.12 a pound last year, according to the USDA.

The FDA's review follows a petition from the American Beekeeping Federation and several other related groups seeking a standard U.S. definition for the natural sweetener to promote fair trade.

While the agency rejected their request, it said it was willing to look at labeling.

The FDA inspected imported honey to see whether it had been "adulterated" with corn or cane sugars. In recent decades, it detained honey containing such substitutes from countries such as Brazil and Mexico, according to the agency.

Manufacturers have 60 days to comment on the proposal before final guidelines are issued. Even then, however, guidelines are not mandatory. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Comments (2)
CecilNixxon wrote:
I bought a cute little bear honey bottle at a dollar discount store. When I got it home it said, “Honey Sauce” and the ingredients are High Fructose Corn Syrup and Honey Flavor. Product of China. Of course.

But when I go to visit The Colonel and order honey packets with my chicken, guess what? The packets no longer say “honey” but instead say “honey sauce” – WTF! Kentucky Fried Chicken with Foreign HFCS Honey Sauce? So much for “American” products.

If you want honey, obtain it from local apiaries. It’s better for the environment, better for you (contains natural pollens and plant essence from your region PLUS no HFCS) and better for the economy.

Apr 08, 2014 3:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Overcast451 wrote:
It’s almost surprising the FDA actually takes this position. Usually their palms are so greased with cash; they just do whatever the corporations want them to.

Only thing I can think of is that some ‘pure honey’ producer is losing money over this and is paying the FDA to make this rule.

I really don’t believe the FDA does anything without it being attached to corporate dollars.

Apr 15, 2014 9:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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