On Monday, Shandong’s Jinan Times revealed that the province’s apicultural industry is fraught with adulterated counterfeit honey. Neil Thomas at Danwei reports:
In conversations with merchants at a Jinan farmers market, stall owners freely admitted that numerous beekeeping merchants buy sugar syrup from them to mix into their honey. Buying syrup is much cheaper than producing bee honey and thus it is more profitable to sell honey that has been adulterated.
Large Chinese supermarkets generally stock dozens of honey products from 7-8 different brands, and prices for a 500g jar range from 21 to 38 yuan. Tests conducted by an experienced honey industry expert on four brands of honey purchased from a Jinan supermarket revealed that two brands’ honey products were frauds – one was diluted with beetroot syrup and the other with rice syrup.
[…] According to another Jinan industry insider, there are two main tricks for producing counterfeit honey. The first is to mix chemical substances or liquids with honey, a process usually carried out in small workshops that create the product sold by roadside peddlers. The second is to blend honey with fructose syrup, a technique that tends to be perpetrated by merchants who rent beekeeping areas in the Jinan suburbs and erect a few beehives to give the impression they are running an honest business. The latter is the more common method as it produces a liquid hard to distinguish from genuine honey, and this is the counterfeit honey often found in supermarkets. [Source]
Fake honey is one of many food products at the center of food scandals in China, including diseased pork, disguised rat meat and cadmium rice. The fakery revealed by this latest exposé adds to the increasingly difficult task of eating safely in China, as consumers without professional knowledge can easily be fooled by counterfeit honey that looks like real the real thing.