FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Proper Labeling of Honey

Honey is a multipurpose substance that is not only used in food and beverages, but is also used in a host of do-it-yourself beauty treatments for skin and hair.  Honey that has been cut with sugar or corn syrup (likely GMO) is not going to be as effective as true honey.  I prefer to buy raw honey (organic or non-GMO) because it has more nutrients.  You can view the full FDA draft guidance here.  It is important to be cognizant of this because once the guidance is final, manufacturers are not required to follow it.

Just because it’s sweet and sticky doesn’t mean it’s ‘honey’ -U.S. FDA

Honey mixed with sugar might be sweet, but it is not “honey.”

Food companies and other producers who add sweeteners to honey have to alert consumers by labeling their products as a “blend,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

Only manufactures that do not add sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners should label their products as pure “honey,” the FDA said in draft guidelines posted online.

Only honey with no added sugar or corn syrup can be labeled pure, the FDA saysDAMIAN DOVARGANES / AP

Americans consume more than 400 million pounds of honey each year, according to U.S. government and industry estimates. But just 149 million pounds were produced in the United States last year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed.

To feed America’s sweet tooth, much honey is imported, and U.S. producers are worried about cheap substitutes.  Pure honey is generally more expensive than those mixed with corn syrup or sugar, and prices reached a record high of $2.12 a pound last year, according to the USDA.

The FDA’s review follows a petition from the American Beekeeping Federation and several other related groups seeking a standard U.S. definition for the natural sweetener to promote fair trade. While the agency rejected their request, it said it was willing to look at labeling.

The FDA inspected imported honey to see whether it had been “adulterated” with corn or cane sugars. In recent decades, it detained honey containing such substitutes from countries such as Brazil and Mexico, according to the agency.  Manufacturers have 60 days to comment on the proposal before final guidelines are issued. Even then, however, guidelines are not mandatory.

via Reuters; Written by Susan Heavey.

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