Pure honey vs. honey blend, FDA fights misbranding to protect consumers
A number of health benefits can be derived from honey. The bee syrup is touted for its nutrients, which include an array of vitamins and minerals. It is also hailed as effective in treating cough, relieving allergies and boosting memory.
Apparently because of its health benefits, honey consumption continues to rise in the United States. Of those who buy honey regularly, more than half said they prefer to buy pure honey. Unfortunately, there are honey products that are marketed as natural honey but actually contain additives.
Products sold as pure honey that contain sugar, corn syrup and other sweeteners can mislead consumers and this raises concern as consuming sugary substitutes is different from consuming unadulterated honey.
Alicia Romano, a clinical registered dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center, explained that although sugar and honey have almost the same amount of calories per teaspoon, raw honey contains more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
While pure honey is also more expensive than those that contain added corn syrup and other sweeteners, raw honey offers more health benefits, which is why many consumers buy it in the first place.
In an effort to protect consumers from misbranding, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidelines on Tuesday that would make it easier to distinguish pure honey from other honey products in the market.
The FDA will require manufacturers to be more specific with their products, such as noting that the label should say "blend" if the honey has any added ingredients. The label should also indicate the added ingredients.
"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and it would not need an ingredient statement because it would only contain one ingredient," the FDA said in its draft guidance for labeling honey and honey products. "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')."