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Canadian government prevents adulterated honey from entering market


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 in results of targeted 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 per cent of the 240 samples, collected from across Canada, were authentic honey, including 100 per cent 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 marketplace 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.


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