FDA’s New Rules: Honey With Added Sweeteners Might Be Sweet, But It Ain’t Honey

Just because something looks like honey, is sticky like honey and is sweet like honey, doesn’t mean it’s the real thing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today in new draft guidelines. That means food companies that add sweeteners to pure honey will have to tell consumers it’s not the totally real deal and label the products as a “blend.”

The only honey makers that can call their products honey are those that don’t add sugar, corn syrup or any other sweetener. The proposal’s aim is “to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or misbranded,” the agency wrote.

To feed our honey appetite, the U.S. estimates we import the majority of the 400 million pounds we consume each year, reports Reuters. Only 149 million pounds were produced in this country last year, which means we’ve got to get the rest from somewhere — leading to concerns about cheap substitutes popping up to make the pollen spread farther.

The FDA took on the honey question after a petition from the American Beekeeping Federation and other groups asked for a standard definition of the stuff to promote fair trade. So while the agency has decided not to do that, it said it would tackle the labeling issue.

Honey makers now have 60 days to comment on the proposal before the final rules are issued. And even then, the guidelines aren’t mandatory — it basically just sets in stone what the FDA thinks about the issue.

Draft Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products [FDA.gov]
Just because it’s sweet and sticky doesn’t mean it’s ‘honey’ -U.S. FDA [Reuters]

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