If you are allergic to dairy proteins such as casein, then you’d probably best avoid eating honey imported from China.That’s because one of Europe’s leading technical laboratories has now confirmed multiple instances of Chinese honey containing milk proteins.
Just how and why honey should contain any level of milk proteins is a mystery. But experts are speculating that it may be a masking attempt by the Chinese manufacturers of fake and imitation honey.
Or in other words, the Chinese might be trying to fool the usual tests for fake and adulterated honey.
(The casein may also just be the result of sloppy and/or incompetent storage and handling processes.)
But, according to the German company, Intertek GmbH, there can now be no doubt that some Chinese honeys imported into Europe contain traces of milk proteins.
A statement from the company released on the 11th of July said that it had begun testing Chinese honey samples last year following concerns raised by Norwegian authorities.
Norwegian border authorities reported three separate cases of adulterated Chinese honey to the European Commission’ s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in May of 2016.
Intertek said initial testing failed to confirm the suspected adulteration.
But that all changed on the 11th of June this year when Spanish authorities reported in the RASFF that they had forced some Chinese honey off the market because it was contaminated with lacto-proteins.
Intertek said its testing had confirmed “positive results for both casein and beta-lactoglobulin”.
Concerns over adulterated honey, and particularly honey from China, have been repeatedly raised in the European parliament in recent years.
In 2015 Belgian authorities reported they had rejected a shipment of Chinese honey because it was accompanied by fake health certificates.
And in February of 2016 a Danish representative formally asked the Commission what action it was taking about Chinese honey adulteration. He said that the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration had recently confirmed Chinese ‘honey’ being sold in Denmark by Scandic Food, was in fact “a cheap form of sugar”.
A European Commission scientific study released in December of 2016 found that a surprising number of honey products on sale in Europe have had sugar added.However the report also found limitations with both the scientific tests used to prove the purity of bee honey, and those used to try and prove its provenance (i.e. as being the type of honey described on the label).
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