Fake Honey Tops Food Fraud

In a recent crackdown led by Europol and Interpol, rampant cases of food and beverage fraud have been uncovered across several EU markets. Fake honey made with corn syrup and sugar alterations accounted for a significant volume of confiscated goods.

OPSON 2020 conducted 495 checks on honey products, 7 percent of which were found to be non-compliant. The authorities mainly checked the analytical detection of sugar syrup and corn syrup.

As a result, more than 51,000 kg of fraudulently treated honey were seized.

“Honey is one of the most altered products that are very difficult to trace,” commented Ksenija Simovic, communications manager at Copa-Cogeca, a European association of farmers and agri-cooperatives.

Dedicated food safety authorities performed checks on the internal markets, including livestock direct sales, collection and processing of bee products, wholesale trades, distributors, deposits, street markets, retail trades and productions of ready-to-eat foods.

Targeted action was implemented on honey sourced from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Scotland and the US.

Fake honey has been in circulation since the 1970’s when high-fructose corn syrup became widely available. To increase volumes and illegal profits, criminals add much cheaper corn syrup and sugarcane to genuine honey.

This activity affects the market, which becomes inundated with counterfeits that are priced much lower than the genuine product. Consequently, beekeepers are forced to gradually lower the prices of genuine products.

This can endanger their activities, leading them to decrease production as well as the bee populations that they maintain.