Government of Canada prevents nearly 12,800 kg of adulterated honey from entering the Canadian market

News release

July 9, 2019–Ottawa, ON - Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Surveillance and enforcement actions by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) prevented nearly 12,800 kg of adulterated honey, valued at close to $77,000, from entering the Canadian market, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced today in releasing results of targetted testing by CFIA.

Under Canadian law, honey is a standardized product and cannot contain added sugars; otherwise it is considered adulterated and is not allowed to be sold as authentic honey in Canada.

Targetted testing by CFIA in 2018 found that 78% of the 240 samples, collected from across Canada, were authentic honey, including 100% of Canadian honey sampled. The remaining samples found the presence of added sugars.The findings are not necessarily representative of the amount of honey adulteration in the marketplace overall, because the sampling was targeted to focus on risk areas (for example, establishments with a history of non-compliance, gaps in preventative controls, or unusual trading patterns).

Testing honey for authenticity helps protect consumers from deception and supports a fair markeplace for all. Regular testing of honey by CFIA looks for the presence of sugar cane and corn syrup, while this testing also included looking for rice syrup and beet sugar syrup in honey using a new scientific testing method.

When adulterated honey was found, CFIA took action to deter future adulteration. A report summarizing the surveillance strategy, test results and enforcement actions is available on CFIA's website.

Data gathered through the surveillance strategy will help further refine CFIA's compliance and enforcement activities, along with funding provided under Budget 2019 to enhance CFIA's capacity to do this type of important work.

Under Budget 2019, the Government of Canada introduced the Food Policy for Canada which provides $24.4 million over five years to CFIA, starting in 2019-20, and $5.2 million ongoing, to crack down on food fraud – the mislabelling and misrepresentation of food products – in order to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition.

Quotes

“Consumers expect their honey to be 100% honey. Intentionally adding sugars to honey is food fraud and is intended to increase the amount of honey by diluting it. We need to protect Canadians from deceptive food practices and ensure industry complies with regulatory requirements.”

– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Adulterated or fraudulent honey is a major problem, not only for Canadian beekeepers but for honest beekeepers world-wide. It not only means consumers are not getting what they pay for, it drives the prices down for legitimate honey producers, and this has had a serious impact on the finances of many Canadian commercial beekeepers.”

– Rod Scarlett, Executive Director, Canadian Honey Council

Quick facts

  • CFIA tested for sugar cane and corn syrup (known as C4 sugars) using Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis

  • Testing for added sugars such as rice syrup and beet sugar syrup (known as C3 sugars) was conducted by an accredited laboratory using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technique

  • In 2017, Canada produced 92 million pounds of honey, worth $188 million, while imports were worth $41 million

  • The Food Policy for Canada is a coordinated and collaborative approach to tackle the pressing food issues that matter to Canadians

  • The Food Policy is the roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada – one that builds on the Government of Canada's ambitious agenda to support the growth of farmers and food businesses, as well as key federal initiatives like the Healthy Eating Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy

Associated links

Contacts

Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
justine.lesage@canada.ca
Mobile: 613-404-1168

Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
613-773-6600
cfia.media.acia@canada.ca


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