Why we won't choose honey like before

Why we won't choose honey like before

Added sugar syrup, additives or colorings but also masking of the true origin… “False” honey abounds in the markets and on store shelves. To put an end to fraud, Europe has decided to force producers to indicate the origin of this essential sweetness in our yogurts.

Do you prefer “honey originating from the European Union or “honey not originating from the European Union”? This is the kind of very vague information we have when we choose a jar, whether in stores or on the markets, when the brands or producers choose not to precisely indicate the origin.

Labeling problems and a lack of transparency

A lack of transparency decried by French beekeepers, whose honeys are in competition with products of absolutely not comparable quality. Their prices are often hyper competitive, which small producers cannot match. We are talking in particular about labeling problems with no indication of origin or adulterated honeys, in which sugar has been added, or even sweetening syrups made from corn or rice. Occitan beekeepers point the finger in particular at unfair competition from Asia. Within the European Union, almost half of imported honey (46%) is not really honey, according to an investigation carried out by the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) which analyzed 320 jar samples in import. For its part, the General Directorate of Fraud (DGCCRF) had carried out an investigation concerning a company, called Miel du Roussillon (liquidated in 2019), which had passed off imported honey as French production.

This is why, for many months, the European Parliament has been fueled by debates around the question of labeling the origin of honey. To fight against the importation of these adulterated honeys, MEPs agreed on the principle of a label mentioning the origin of the product, whether China, Vietnam, Ukraine, Bulgaria or a other European country. In case of mixtures of origins, “the percentages of honey coming from at least the first four countries of origin must also be indicated. If this represents not more than half of the total honey, percentages must be given for all countries“, Parliament explicitly stated in a press release when a step was taken at the start of the year following an agreement with the European Council.

NO to diets, YES to WW!

Not enough progress for beekeepers

A major step forward for beekeepers which the main farmers' union, Fnsea, welcomes, but which still sees a certain limit. “We regret the possibility of exemption granted to Member States: they will be able to limit the compulsory labeling of the percentage to the 4 main honeys of different origin in a mixture, provided that they represent more than 50% of the final weight. However, displaying the percentages of all countries is an essential tool to facilitate checks, with the aim of limiting origin fraud. Fnsea asks the government to oppose this exemption in Europe“, writes the union.

The “Honey Directive” having been voted almost unanimously by the European Parliament, the European Council must finish ratifying it in order to be published in the Official Journal of the EU.