Beware of fake honey in the market, warns lecturer

Munirah holding a stingless bee honeycomb. Honey comes from nectar gathered by honey bees.

THE public should take extra precautions when buying honey from the market, particularly those that lack labels or information on the origins of the product.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Pasir Gudang campus Applied Science Chemistry Depart-ment senior lecturer Munirah Onn said the pandemic has generated greater awareness on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

She added that this was also in line with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s call to Malaysians to adopt a healthy lifestyle as the country transitioned towards the endemic phase of Covid-19.

“However, there are those who are taking advantage of this situation for easy profit by selling fake honey in the market as production cost is low while demand is high.

“This fake honey is not only sold by the roadside but also through social media,” she said, adding that the sellers claimed that the honey they sold was pure.

Munirah said fake honey could be made by mixing refined sugar, citric acid, corn starch and distilled water.

According to Food Regulations 1985 under the Food Act 1983, pure honey should contain not less than 60% of reducing sugars (fructose, glucose and maltose) and its sucrose sugar content should not exceed 10%.

“Honey comes from nectar gathered by honey bees, where nectar is a sugar solution with varying concentrations secreted by flowers.

“From the appearance, fake honey and real honey may seem identical, especially when bottled or labelled nicely. Some may even put honeycomb wax into their product to convince buyers that the honey is pure.

“However, consuming honey made from refined sugar can have serious health implications, especially for diabetics,” she said, adding that if left unchecked, it could lead to other health complications too.

“There are also cases where real honey is mixed with sugar water, or honey bees fed with sugar water to hasten the honey production process.

“Fake honey can also produce an organic material known as hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), which is harmful to humans when consumed regularly,” Munirah added.

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