This is, at least, what the Centre for Science and Environment says its investigation has found. According to the CSE report, sugar syrup adulteration of honey is rampant in most major and lesser-known brands.
Of the 13 top and smaller brands of processed and raw honey, such as Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, and Zandu, selected by CSE food researchers for the investigation, only three could pass the internationally accepted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy test. Indian tests were unable to detect this adulteration because Chinese companies have designed sugar syrups – namely golden syrup, invert sugar syrup, rice syrup being exported to India as fructose – in a way they can easily bypass food standards.
Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE, said, “It is a food fraud more nefarious and more sophisticated than what we found in our 2003 and 2006 investigations into soft drinks; more damaging to our health than perhaps anything that we have found till now – keeping in mind the fact that we are still fighting against a killer COVID-19 pandemic with our backs to the wall. This overuse of sugar in our diet will make it worse.” She also added, “Our research has found that most of the honey sold in the market is adulterated with sugar syrup. Therefore, instead of honey, people are eating more sugar, which will add to the risk of COVID-19. Sugar ingestion is directly linked to obesity, and obese people are more vulnerable to life-threatening infections.”