Is that Grocery Store Honey Fake?
We hate being the bearer of bad news, but it's almost certainly likely the honey on the shelves at your local grocery store or in your pantry is laced with sweeteners other than honey.
Fake Honey? Honey is the 3rd Most Faked Food in the World.
Sadly the United States Government isn't doing anything to prevent it. As of Mid 2021 the food fraud database managed by Decernis puts honey 3rd behind the top two adulterated foods in the store, Milk and Olive Oil.
Up to 7 of 10 Jars are Adulterated
According to a Vice article in 2020, a lab determined-
"Out of 110 products, around 70 percent were adulterated. There’s been something done to them. It is just pure fraud in our opinion. They're selling products to the American public that isn't what it says it is.”
How is Honey Adulterated?
Fake or adulterated honey is clearly a problem. It's not just that consumers are not getting what they think they are buying, but the labels are no tip in deciphering between fake and real honey. Adulterated honey affects the overall cost of real honey which just helps fuel the fake honey market.
First, honey is faked often by cutting real honey with other more affordable/ cheaper sweeteners like, rice syrup, high fructose syrup, among others. Then to fool some of the testing equipment, the fakers place pollen from the expected region the honey is suppose to be from to trick people that are testing for certain pollens.
The problem is that honey is made of Glucose and sucrose which the body can absorb slower than other highly processed sugars like, high-fructose corn syrup or rice syrup, making honey lower on the glycemic index and as shown in studies with athletes doesn't come with the energy crash that is associated with other sweeteners. In fact honey out performs those other energy gels.
Fake Honey is Hurting Beekeepers
Being a beekeeper is a lot of work and in many cases beekeepers are breaking even selling commercially blended honey. Most commercial beekeepers sell to honey packers who package, sell, and deliver the beekeepers honey with other commercial beekeepers honey. And, it these cases the packer sets the price per pound for honey that season, and if they are competing with adulterated honey, which is much less expensive. It forces the packer to lower the price, and in many past years the price of commercial honey is less than it cost to produce.
Due to these financial challenges, US beekeepers are producing less and less honey each year and that void is being filled by offshore honey which likely has a 70% chance of being fake honey. This trend will continue until consumers stop buying cheap fake honey and/ or the government starts regulating the honey market.
What Will Help Fix it Now?
The consumer (you) has all the power. If the honey is less than $5 pound, there is a high likely hood its adulterated. Keep the cheap stuff on the shelves and buy honey directly from the beekeeper or make sure you are buying honey from a producer in the area. Many grocery stores sells at least one local beekeepers honey.