Beechworth Honey, one of Australia’s iconic brands and a BSI client for over eight years, is helping to raise the profile of honey adulteration across the globe. Their founder and director, Jodie Goldsworthy, has been appointed as president of the Oceania Region of Apimondia, the Global Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, who have created a working group tasked with communicating the problem and then taking steps to prevent adulteration. Although cases like the 2013 European horse meat scandal normally make the most high profile headlines, it is food categories like olive oil, milk and honey that actually have the highest reported cases of food fraud*. Previously the primary focus in the food industry has been on food safety, however food defence is becoming an increasing concern with food commodities becoming a target for fraudulent practice as some organizations look to gain financially through means such as substituting key ingredients for cheaper alternatives.
In recent years the world has had a global shortage in honey and honeybee products with pests and diseases afflicting bees in various parts of the world. As a result there has been a proliferation of fake honey which is undercutting the price in the global market. The increase of adulterated honey entering the global market has also sparked concern amongst health officials and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [ACCC] has fined companies for importing products into Australia that claimed to be 100 per cent bee honey, when they were mainly made from modified corn syrup. The fake honey is made in a laboratory and is cheaper to produce than real honey from bees, and beekeepers say they can't compete on price.
“It’s great to see an organization like Beechworth raising the profile of honey adulteration in Australia and across the globe,” said Marc Barnes, Global Director Food at BSI. “By raising the profile they are ensuring there is a future livelihood for beekeepers across the world, as well as reducing health risks from potential undeclared ingredients that are being passed off as honey."