Australian honey samples found to be fake

3 October 2018

Written by: Natasha Pietrobuono

18 percent of Australian honey samples were found to be adulterated.

A ground-breaking study has found that one in five samples of Australian honey is fake, including boutique expensive brands.

The study, conducted at Macquarie University by a team of scientists, tested five raw honey samples and 95 local and global-branded honey, of which 27 percent were found to be adulterated.

More than half of the 100 global sourced samples found that honey from Asia, mainly China, had been mixed with other non-honey substances.

However, of the 38 Australian honey samples that were tested from supermarkets, 18 percent identified adulteration.

According to The Age, Victoria, Queensland, NSW and Tasmania are the four states implicated.

The results state that of all the Australian honey samples that were found to be adulterated, 23 percent belonged to Tasmania, one out of two were found from NSW, 29 percent of Victoria’s honey was found to be fake and a third of the six samples from Queensland were not pure honey.

The samples from South Australia and Western Australia found pure honey.

The high-security government lab that tested the honey, the National Measurement Institute, is also used to test drugs by Border Force. The scientific team, led by Professor Mark Taylor and PhD student Xiaoteng Zhou, also highlighted issues with mis-labelling of geographic regions.

In regards to imported honey, the findings were released just weeks after a joint investigation by Fairfax and the ABC’s 7:30.

“Blended honey of unknown origin has been known to contain antibiotics, toxins, irradiated pollen or even alkaloids with the potential to cause organ damage,” the study said.

The findings are expected to put pressure on authorities to begin testing local honey.

Peter McDonald, the chairman of the Australia Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), said authorities have not tested local honey.

“It is up to the individual companies that actually buy the honey to then test,” McDonald said.

“I am fully confident that the Australian honey bee industry is clean and green and we have the best product in the world.”