There are not enough bees to produce the honey coming out of China, warns a food expert.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation says global production of honey has increased by about 50 percent in the last 20 years.
Farmed beehives also increased but not by more than 30 percent to about 90 million.
The Mail Online quoted Ron Phipps, vice president of the Scientific Commission on Beekeeping Economy at Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations as saying: “It is impossible to account for the increase in global production of honey by the modest increase in the number of beehives.
“We believe consumers are being cheated — honey is being adulterated with rice syrup and other sweeteners.’
Earlier in May, the SA Bee Industry Organisation (Sabio) hosted a virtual workshop on honey fraud.
It emerged that South African beekeepers are only able to meet half the demand for honey and the rest is imported, mainly from China.
Contributing to the conference Prof Norberto Garcia from Argentina said: “There are not enough bee colonies in China to explain the huge amount of honey they are currently exporting.
“Honey is a product of the interaction between the plant and the animal kingdom.
“No additions can be made at all. If you blend pure honey with fake honey, it is not honey,” concluded Garcia, who is the president of the Apimondia Scientific Commission of Beekeeping Economy.
The labeling of imported honey has left a bitter taste in the mouth for health-conscious shoppers.
One label on a honey bottle reads: “Product of South Africa, China, and Uruguay”.