The remedy of sore throats and the healthy alternative of syrup, honey, is a kitchen staple in many Malaysians’ homes. But before you pour some on your oats or spread it on your BBQ chicken, know that 80% of honey sold in Malaysia is fake!
The issue was brought under the spotlight by Berita Harian last Sunday (19 Nov). The test results from a laboratory found that the artificial honey is made out of sugar, starch, and corn flour—all of which could harm consumers’ health, especially diabetes patients.
Consumers must know about the danger of consuming fake honey because the manufacturing process mixes foreign materials, overheats and the standard of hygiene is poor. Such product could lead to heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Principal research officer of Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Dr. Suri Roowi found that five samples of honey bought from different merchants contained a high amount of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).
Dr. Suri Roowi said that HMF is a natural compound of glucose breakdown in acidic condition, over consuming it could cause adverse effects on our body.
“We found that some samples have no nutritional values or source of honey in them, confirming that they are all synthetic,” said Roowi.
For illustration purposes only. Source: WHO
One man who reportedly consumed fake honey for the past 6 years was recently hospitalized for three months. Right now, the 64-year-old man’s right leg has an implanted rot to support his movement and his toes have yet to recover.
The man, Khairil Amri (not his real name), discovered his diabetes in December last year after consuming a variant of honey called kelulut honey, which produced by stingless bees in Kedah. He took it twice a day for six years.
After the diagnosed, he took the honey to MARDI to run a test because he disbelieved that his healthy diet had led to diabetes. He reported that he did not take sweet food, only a little during festive season; for beverages, he always opted ‘less sugar’ for his tea and Kopi-O.
The results of the test found that the honey he took for six years was indeed a counterfeit and the news left him devastated.
Khairil bought the fake honey for RM 80 – RM 100 per bottle. It was hardly his fault for believing its authenticity because some sellers would go great length to run ‘demonstration’ to prove that they were selling pure honey.
For illustration purposes only. Source: beeplushoney
They would lie to the consumers by false educating pure honey’s characteristics, such as claiming so-and-so as accurate colour, fine bubbles on the top layer, and the ‘pop’ sound you hear when opening the bottle. Do these characteristics ring a bell?
Among all the variant of honey, consumers prefer kelulut honey better because it was claimed that it has higher nutritional value, thus seeing the emergence of more artificial kelulut honey in the market.
Dr. Suri Roowi found that 15 out of 270 tested kelulut honey samples were artificial and didn’t contain any nutrients.
In response, Ministry of Health revealed that 7 samples out of 77 honey in the market didn’t comply with the standards set under the Food Regulations 1985.
Source: Malaysian Times
Under the regulation, Health Director-General Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said that honey should contain not less than 60% sugar reduction (reducing sugars) and its sucrose sugar-content should not exceed 10%, as reported by Says.
The health director had taken legal action against the non-complying companies and their products were withdrawn from the market.
MOH urged that if consumers do find counterfeit products, please report to District Health Offices or the State Health Departments. They will continue to pay stringent attention to monitoring food safety.
Any party caught producing or selling food that fails to meet Food Act 1983’s standards or specification, they would be convicted to up to five years of imprisonment or RM 20,000 fine, or both, under Section 13B(2)(e) of the act.
It is the time we put these counterfeit-makers behind bars! They are making Malaysians facing unnecessary health threat.