New Delhi : The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has asked food regulator FSSAI to take appropriate action against adulteration reported in certain honey brands and also extended cooperation for investigation for taking class action.
Last week, environment watchdog CSE claimed that honey sold by several major brands in India has been found to be adulterated with sugar syrup. However, the companies have refuted the claims. In an official statement, the consumer affairs ministry expressed concern over the reported adulteration of honey.
“It has been reported to the Department that most of the honey brands sold in the market are adulterated with sugar syrup. This is a serious matter as it will compromise our health in the troubled times of COVID-19 and add to the risk of COVID-19,” the ministry said.
The Department of Consumer Affairs asked CCPA to look into matter, it added. “The CCPA, in accordance with section 19(2) of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, after preliminary examination, has referred the matter to the FSSAI, the food regulator, to take appropriate action in the matter… “…and has offered to extend cooperation in investigation of the matter for taking class action as envisaged in section 10 of the Act,” the statement said.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) food researchers selected 13 top as well as smaller brands of processed and raw honey being sold in India to check their purity. It was found that 77 per cent of the samples were adulterated with sugar syrup. Out of the 22 samples checked, only five passed all the tests.
“Honey samples from leading brands such as Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu, Hitkari and Apis Himalaya, all failed the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) test,” the study said. Emami (Zandu), Dabur, Patanjali Ayurveda and Apis Himalaya have refuted the claims made by CSE. A day after the CSE study was released, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sought details of the tests, even as it raised questions over why its prescribed tests were not conducted.
The FSSAI had stated that the CSE found the adulterants by using “the non-prescription” Trace Marker for Rice syrup (TMR) test instead of “a more sensitive” Specific Marker for Rice syrup test (SMR). The consumer affairs department further said it takes the consumer issues seriously.