The European Union (EU) has, in the past 10 years, rejected Indian honey many times after it was found contaminated with antibiotics and lead and had an absence of traceability.
Ayurveda prescribes it for a range of ailments. People eat it for rejuvenation and boosting immunity. An Indian homemaker’s kitchen shelf is incomplete without a jar of this amber liquid. But without quality and safety controls, this gift of nature has been contaminated. CSE laboratory tests find high levels of antibiotics in well-known brands of honey sold in the market.
FSSAI gives a go ahead
The recommendations put forth by the FSSAI scientific panel that says antibiotics should not be used at any stage of honey production, has been unanimously approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). It has now been sent to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for notification. Read more
"The fruit of bees is desired by all, and is equally sweet to kings and beggars and it is not only pleasing but profitable and healthful; it sweetens their mouths, cures their wounds, and conveys remedies to inward ulcers." - Saint Ambrose This quote conveys the all encompassing properties of honey. In India, honey has a special status in Ayurveda. D Ramanathan, director of the Sitaram Ayurveda Pharmacy Limited & Specialty Hospital, Thrissur on the role honey plays in ayurvedic treatment. The interview:
Minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Prof K V Thomas in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on CSE’s report also stated that the European Union had banned the export of honey from India, on account of positive detection of heavy metals and other contaminants, reported in the Residual Monitoring Plan.
Since the Government of India directed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), in December last year, to revise its standards for honey only two meetings have been held.
Following the CSE study, the Rajya Sabha – in the parliament's winter session in 2010 – raised the issue of antibiotics in honey. The then minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution, K V Thomas, in a written reply to the parliament acknowledged the fact that the European Union had banned the export of honey from India on account of positive detection of heavy metals and other contaminants.