Horticulture, Floriculture, Commercial crops, Bamboo Production – MIDH, NFSM-CC, etc.

Honey Adulteration in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Apiculture and its benefits for farmers

10 out of 13 popular honey brands failed a key test of purity, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has claimed in an investigation.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following kinds of organisms:

  1. Bat
  2. Bee
  3. Bird

Which of the above is/are pollinating agent/agents?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Adulteration in honey

  • The CSE has resorted to the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing to ascertain the composition of a product at the molecular level.
  • The NMR test is not required by Indian law for honey that is being marketed locally but is needed for export.
  • Current regulations specify around 18 parameters that honey must comply with for producers to label it ‘pure honey.
  • Among the tests employed as per Indian regulations is one to check whether the honey is adulterated with C4 sugar (cane sugar) or C3 sugar (rice sugar).
  • Most samples cleared these tests but failed another test called the Trace Marker for Rice test, to test for rice syrup adulteration.

Significance of the CSE study

  • Adulteration of honey is a global problem with several countries, including India, devising regulations and new tests to check it.
  • It also destroys the livelihoods of bee-keepers who found it unprofitable to make pure honey because sugar-syrup honey was often available at half the price.
  • Some Indian companies in the honey business were importing synthetic sugar syrups from China to adulterate honey.
  • This shows how the business of adulteration has evolved so that it can pass the stipulated tests in India.

Back2Basics: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

  • NMR spectroscopy is a crucial analytical tool for organic chemists.
  • It is a physical phenomenon in which nuclei in a strong constant magnetic field are perturbed by a weak oscillating magnetic field and respond by producing an electromagnetic signal with a frequency characteristic of the magnetic field at the nucleus.
  • It is widely used to determine the structure of organic molecules in solution and study molecular physics and crystals as well as non-crystalline materials.
  • It is also routinely used in advanced medical imaging techniques, such as in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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