80% of Honey In The Malaysia Market Are FAKE, Causing Fatal Diabetes

by health and nutrition advice journalist

Tests Show That Consumers May Have Been Buying Artificial Products

The remedy of sore throats and the healthy alternative of syrup, honey, is a kitchen staple in many Malaysians’ homes. But before you pour some on your oats or spread it on your BBQ chicken, know that 80% of honey sold in Malaysia is fake!

A series of exclusive reports by Berita Harian. The test results from a laboratory found that the artificial honey is made out of sugar, starch, and corn flour—all of which could harm consumers’ health, especially diabetes patients.

Consumers must know about the danger of consuming fake honey because the manufacturing process mixes foreign materials, overheats and the standard of hygiene is poor. Such product could lead to heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes.

harvesting honey

Principal research officer of Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Dr. Suri Roowi found that five samples of honey bought from different merchants contained a high amount of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).

Dr. Suri Roowi said that HMF is a natural compound of glucose breakdown in acidic condition, over consuming it could cause adverse effects on our body.

“We found that some samples have no nutritional values or source of honey in them, confirming that they are all synthetic,” said Roowi.

diabetes patient
For illustration purposes only. Source: WHO

One man who reportedly consumed fake honey for the past 6 years was recently hospitalized for three months. Right now, the 64-year-old man’s right leg has an implanted rot to support his movement and his toes have yet to recover.

The man, Khairil Amri (not his real name), discovered his diabetes in December last year after consuming a variant of honey called kelulut honey, which produced by stingless bees in Kedah. He took it twice a day for six years.

After the diagnosed, he took the honey to MARDI to run a test because he disbelieved that his healthy diet had led to diabetes. He reported that he did not take sweet food, only a little during festive season; for beverages, he always opted ‘less sugar’ for his tea and Kopi-O.

The results of the test found that the honey he took for six years was indeed a counterfeit and the news left him devastated.

Khairil bought the fake honey for RM 80 – RM 100 per bottle. It was hardly his fault for believing its authenticity because some sellers would go great length to run ‘demonstration’ to prove that they were selling pure honey.

fake honey
For illustration purposes only. Source: 

They would lie to the consumers by false educating pure honey’s characteristics, such as claiming so-and-so as accurate colour, fine bubbles on the top layer, and the ‘pop’ sound you hear when opening the bottle. Do these characteristics ring a bell? 

Among all the variant of honey, consumers prefer kelulut honey better because it was claimed that it has higher nutritional value, thus seeing the emergence of more artificial kelulut honey in the market.

Dr. Suri Roowi found that 15 out of 270 tested kelulut honey samples were artificial and didn’t contain any nutrients.

In response, Ministry of Health revealed that 7 samples out of 77 honey in the market didn’t comply with the standards set under the Food Regulations 1985.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
Source: Malaysian Times

Under the regulation, Health Director-General Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said that honey should contain not less than 60% sugar reduction (reducing sugars) and its sucrose sugar-content should not exceed 10%, as reported by Says.

The health director had taken legal action against the non-complying companies and their products were withdrawn from the market.

MOH urged that if consumers do find counterfeit products, please report to District Health Offices or the State Health Departments. They will continue to pay stringent attention to monitoring food safety.

Any party caught producing or selling food that fails to meet Food Act 1983’s standards or specification, they would be convicted to up to five years of imprisonment or RM 20,000 fine, or both, under Section 13B(2)(e) of the act.

It is the time we put these counterfeit-makers behind bars! They are making Malaysians facing unnecessary health threat.

Source: Says / Berita Harian

Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, which recently seemed likely to expand into China, has been accused by testers of using fake honey in one of its products, local media reported today.

Capilano’s Allowrie-branded Mixed Blossom Honey, which sources its products from Australia and overseas, claims to be 100 per cent honey.

However, testing at a speciality laboratory allegedly found a majority of samples to be “adulterated”, meaning they contained something other than bee nectar.

Trevor Weatherhead, executive director of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council told Xinhua news agency that he was unsure why anyone would want to pass off fake honey as the real thing but he imagined cost cutting might be a reason.

So far, Capilano has denied the accusation of adulteration and criticised the testing method, which it noted was not to Australian standards.

How to Know Pure Honey

How do you test honey purity? What is Pure Honey? What is Fake, Impure or Adulterated Honey? Can you know the difference between fake and pure honey? What are the ways to distinguish between fake and pure honey? Does pure honey crystallize? What are the nutritional facts and health benefits of pure honey? Where can I find/ buy it? If you want to enjoy most of the benefits derived from honey, its purity is what you should consider before buying.

Most of the honey in the grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce but fake and impure honey. Why? This is because by the high demand for pure honey resulting from its medicinal and nutrient value. Individuals and companies have taken advantage of this (high demand) in a move to make an extra buck by selling fake honey.

What is Real Honey? Pure honey is at times referred to as real, natural or organic honey. By just looking packaged honey on the shelves, it is almost impossible to tell whether the honey is fake or real. Pure honey is the natural product made of honey bees.It is the floral nectar gathered by the bees, processed, and stored in the comb inside the hives.

What is Fake Honey? Also referred to as impure, artificial or adulterated, fake honey is ‘honey’ that has been added glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar, flour, corn syrup, starch, or any other similar product, other than floral nectar.

Fake or Pure honey? How can you tell the difference?

What are the ways to distinguish between fake and real honey? The honey purity can, of course, be checked in the labs most probably by testing the pollen but that’s beyond the scope of this article. We are looking at simple ways by which an average day to day consumer can quickly tell if the honey he/she buying is fake or pure. The first and probably the most obvious step, for anyone who is concerned, are to check the label. The label contains some information that might be helpful

There are also other ways to test for honey purity but they have raised debates. One major test that is controversial is the “ant test”. A group of individuals argues that ants are attracted to fake honey due to its sugar content but not attracted to pure honey due to a component that is a natural pest repellent. First and foremost, there is not much information available to back up the “natural pest repellent”. Further, it is argued that some dubious individuals mix the fake honey with a repulsive mixture that tends to irritate ants, therefore, keeping the ants off.

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