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The FDA wants you to know when your honey isn't just honey

The FDA will ask honey producers to label honey mixed with sweeteners as 'honey blends'
The FDA will ask honey producers to label honey mixed with sweeteners as 'honey blends'
Flickr Creative Commons, Siona Karen

A report from Reuters on Tuesday says that your honey might not actually be honey. What they mean by that is that some companies have been adding sweeteners to their honey and not making customers any the wiser to their actions. Now the U.S. Food and Drug administration will be forcing those companies to distinguish that what they are selling isn’t strictly honey by having them label their products as “honey blends.”

Though Americans have been shown to consume over 400 million pounds of honey in a year, only 149 million pounds are produced in the U.S. This has lead to a great deal of honey being imported. The FDA reported that after checking imported honey, it found some honeys contained sweeteners and drug residue that was not included on the label of the product.

Honey prices are traditionally high and last year, prices reached a record of $2.12 per pound. The high cost of honey raised fears that manufacturers were perhaps including substitutes in their honey to keep costs down.

This review of imported honey was carried out at the behest of the American Beekeeping Federation when it asked for a standard definition on honey to promote fair trade. Though the FDA rejected their initial request, it did agree to carry out a review and to look at labeling. The FDA found that honey imported from Brazil, Mexico and several other counters were adulterated with cane and corn sugars.

Now that guidelines have been released online, the FDA has given manufactures 60 days to respond to the proposal before the guidelines are finalized. However, as the term notes, “guidelines” are not mandatory. But, with the new report and guidelines hopefully comes a new sense of awareness to consumers that not all honey is honey. Those looking to purchase honey as a sugar substitute or for its allergy benefits would likely find their best buy at a local natural foods store or at a farmer’s market.