CHIANG MAI – Seven people have been arrested with about 80 kilogram of honey diluted with corn syrup, sugar and honey fragrance in San Sai district.
The adulterated honey was seized at a rented home on Tuesday evening by a team of police, health and administrative officials supported by soldiers.
Ranya Ratanasing, the operator of the plant, and six people working with her were detained. All of them are tenants.
Ms Ranya allegedly admitted they bought beehive honey from Phayao province and mixed it with corn syrup, sugar and honey fragrance. They also added bits of beeswax to make the product look like pure honey.
She said it cost them 50-60 baht per kilogram and they sold the adulterated honey at 80-150 baht per kilogram at flea markets.
They were initially charged with selling food that was not properly labelled. Tests would be made on the honey and if it were found to be contaminated additional charges would follow, officials said.
How to Tell If Your Honey Is Pure or Adulterated
Honey is well known for its positive health benefits, thanks to its high mineral and vitamin contents. Unfortunately, not all the honey sold at the supermarket is pure.
Honey is often adulterated, meaning it is mixed with glucose solutions or low-quality honeys with a high water content, because the honey has been taken from cells that are not properly covered with wax.
Here are a few simple tests you can do at home to check if your honey is high-quality and pure, or impure and with a high water content.
Read the label
The first thing you should do before buying a jar of honey is read the label and check that the ingredient list doesn’t contain “high-fructose corn syrup” or commercial glucose, two additives that are frequently used to “stretch” the honey and keep it from solidifying.
Solidification of the honey
All honey is liquid, but with time they tend to solidify, or “crystallize” into a substance resembling grains of sugar. If you buy a jar of honey that is already crystallized, it is pure. If your honey is liquid, you can wait a few days to see if it solidifies or throw it in the fridge to accelerate the process. If the honey never crystallizes, there is a high probability that it is adulterated honey.
Tricks for knowing if your honey is pure
Here are some easy tricks that can be useful for checking if the honey you have bought is pure or if it has been in some way adulterated or has a high water content.
- Take a tablespoon of honey and put it in a glass of water. If the honey dissolves, then it is not pure. Pure honey should stay together as a solid when submerged in water.
- Take a bit of honey and mix it with water. Then place four or five drops of vinegar into the solution. If it turns foamy, the honey might have been adulterated with gypsum.
- Scoop a bit of honey into a spoon and let it fall from the spoon. Honey with high water content will fall quickly. Mature honey of good quality will stay on the spoon or fall very slowly.
- Light a match and try to burn some of the honey. If it lights and burns, then it is pure. Impure or low-quality honey often contains extra water that keeps it from burning.
- If you have iodine at home, take some honey, mix it with water, and add a few drops of iodine. If the solution turns blue, then the honey has been adulterated with some sort of starch or flour.
- Take a small piece of old, hard bread and submerge it in the honey. If, when you remove it 10 minutes later, the bread is still hard, then the honey is pure. If there is a lot of water in the honey, the bread will soften.
As you can see, these simple tests will help you confirm the quality of the honey you buy and choose the purest, highest-quality option, in turn helping you reap the maximum benefits of including honey in your diet.
By Cheewin Sattha