Dale Buss

June 2023

Volume 77, No. 5


© Everyday better to do everything you love/iStock/Getty Images Plus


© Everyday better to do everything you love/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Honey comes quickly to experts’ lips as one of the most highly victimized food commodities. Maintaining authenticity of supply is a continuing challenge to apiarists and honey processors around the world, at the same time that the industry is battling the pervasive problem of beehive collapse and the disappearance of ecosystems that support bees and other pollinators.

“It’s the most adulterated product in the world,” says Deleo de Leonardis, founder of food analysis startup Purity-IQ. “It’s expensive and in high demand, but you can’t mass produce it; it’s the bees making honey. You can enslave them all you want.”

The problem was dramatized in a Netflix documentary five years ago titled Lawyers, Guns & Honey

The show argued that only adulteration could be responsible for the continuing worldwide rise in honey consumption at a time of declining bee populations. It illustrated the broad use of corn syrup, rice syrup, and other liquids to dilute honey exports, mostly from Asia and involving middlemen in places like Germany.

Because of such problems, Netflix concluded, “Beekeepers can be forgiven for worrying that their business may be too challenging to survive.”

Among recent efforts by the industry to fight back are a True Source Certified Honey certification program to combat the problem of illegally shipped honey. As of a few years ago, companies that were True Source Certified represented about 30% of all honey sold in America, according to True Source, which couldn’t be reached for more current statistics.

The company updated its standards a couple of years ago, specifying exact testing methodologies that utilize “longstanding approved methods along with cutting-edge technologies to detect sugar [and] syrups,” True Source Honey said.

About the Author

Dale Buss, contributing editor, is an award-winning journalist and book author whose career has included reporting for The Wall Street Journal, where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize ([email protected]).

Digital Exclusives right arrow

Yes NOVA Is Flawed But It Can Not Be Ignored

Job Ubbink and Allen Levine posit that the NOVA food classification system is flawed, but it draws attention to the fact that many processed foods are not healthfully formulated.

From the Expo Floor Day 3

Photo highlights from the IFT FIRST Expo Hall.

Consumers View Food as Medicine in Search for Better Health

An aging population and increases in chronic disease drive growing demand for functional ingredients.

From the Expo Floor Day 2

Photo highlights from the IFT FIRST Expo Hall.

Food Technology Articles right arrow

Is There a Soy and Breast Cancer Connection

This article presents a look at the scientific evidence surrounding the relationship between breast cancer and soy consumption.

Polishing Up Dairy's Health Halo

In this digital exclusive article, the author shares how dairy products formulated to address consumers’ health concerns and negative perceptions of the category are proliferating.

Reflections by Richard Waycott and News From Ingredient Companies

News and new product information from food industry suppliers, including a Q&A with Richard Waycott of the Almond Board Of California.

Equipped for Food Safety

In this column, the author describes the regulatory and food safety considerations of utilizing principles of sanitary equipment design.

Antioxidants Beyond the Hype

This article discusses recent scientific studies and emerging research that have prompted a reexamination of the health implications associated with the addition of large amounts of antioxidants to foods.

Recent Brain Food right arrow

A New Day at the FDA

IFT weighs in on the agency’s future in the wake of the Reagan-Udall Report and FDA Commissioner Califf’s response.

Members Say IFT Offers Everything You Need to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

Learn how IFT boosts connections, efficiencies, and inspiration for its members.

More on the FDA's Food Traceability Final Rule

In a new white paper, our experts examine the FDA’s Food Traceability Final Rule implications—and its novel concepts first proposed by IFT.