The ABC has reported that a number of honey products on Australian supermarket shelves have failed international tests that determine whether a product is 100 per cent honey, and not made up – either entirely or partially – of a sugar syrup substitute.
While all of the products passed Australian standards, the international tests raised question marks about the authenticity of blended products – where Australian and foreign honey are combined.
Among those reported to have failed the international tests are certain samples of Allowrie Honey – a brand of ASX-listed Capilano.
In a statement on its website, Capilano defended both its products and the Australian standards for testing honey authenticity.
“While we have full confidence that Allowrie Honey contains only pure honey, we also recognise that there is no consensus view from across the industry about the reliability of the NMR test that has led to the reports in the media,” Capilano Honey’s managing director, Dr Ben McKee, said.
“We call on the industry to work to prove up the NMR test so that it matches the robustness of results from other testing currently relied on internationally.”
“NMR tests are conducted at European laboratories and the method’s essential flaw is the reliance on a database of reference honeys, and the database is underrepresented for honeys from our region.”
Dr McKee said, “It is essential for consumers to have confidence in that they are buying 100 per cent pure honey. We cannot have one test saying one thing and another saying honey is 100 per cent pure. That is where we find ourselves today.”
The allegations have seen Capilano’s marketing team face a busy few days responding to criticism and questions from consumers – some of whom have confused the allegations against the Allowrie Honey brand to encompass all Capilano products – which are marketed as being 100 per cent pure Australian honey.
“hahahhaah 100% pure honey? Yeh right,” said one on the company’s Facebook page.
Not everyone was convinced about the veracity of the allegations, however.
“OMG you people are so rude and so vulnerable to what ever [sic] the media or social media say. Buy [sic] the honey and enjoy it,” another fired back.
Fake product scandals are nothing new, with Australian winemaker Penfolds in 2017 responding to claims around fake wine being sold in China.
The company insisted it was those claims that were fake, not its products.