It may look and taste like natural honey and the label on the jar may even claim its contents are made solely by a bunch of busy bees. But it turns out many brands of honey are adulterated to make them stickier and sweeter, which is why the Food and Drug Administration is taking measures to ensure consumers are getting the real deal.
New guidance issued FDA on Tuesday would require food companies to list added ingredients if their product contains more than just honey.
"Consumers would know what the food is and what the food contains by reading the label," the agency explained in the draft guidance. "A properly labeled package of only honey would show the name of the food as 'honey,' and it would not need an ingredient statement because it would only contain one ingredient. In comparison, a properly labeled package of a blend of honey and a sweetener would have a name such as 'blend of honey and sugar' (likewise, 'blend of honey and corn syrup') and an ingredient statement that lists each ingredient, such as 'honey' and 'sugar' (likewise, 'honey' and 'corn syrup')."
The agency said enforcement action is possible against U.S. food businesses or importers if companies try to cut those sweeteners into real honey and do not label the product correctly.
The FDA regularly detains honey imports and tests them after finding drug residues and unlabeled added sweeteners.The food product continues to gain popularity in the U.S. In 2012 to 2013, there was an increase from 54 percent to 70 percent in consumers who said they'd purchased honey in the past year, according to the National Honey Board. Among consumers who buy the product regularly, 70 percent said it is extremely or very important to them that honey is pure.