90% of honey in Malaysia is fake, says lecturer
Malaysia’s domestic trade and cost of living minister said it will look into comments by a lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) claiming up to 90% of honey in the country is fake.
Domestic trade and cost of living minister Armizan Mohd Ali said it is the first time he has heard of such comments.
The lecturer, Dr Mohd Zulkifli Mustafa, had made the comments during an interview on a local radio station.
He said in order to reap the numerous benefits from honey, lab tests are required to ensure that honey sold is genuine.
Up to 90% of honey in Malaysia might be fake, lecturer said
In an interview with a local radio station published on Jan 29 promoting the use of honey from stingless bees, Dr Zulkifli said up to 90% of honey in Malaysia might be counterfeit.
“The biggest challenge for the honey industry now is the presence of counterfeit honey, which accounts for 90 per cent of the market,” he added, according to New Straits Times.
“Therefore, laboratory tests are needed to identify genuine honey.”
Dr Zulkifli, a researcher at USM’s Department of Neurosciences in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, also mentioned several benefits that honey from stingless bees brings, including nutrients such as energy, protein, vitamins, good bacteria, and antioxidants.
Dr Zulkifli also said consuming honey can help to prevent both non-communicable chronic diseases as well as infections.
Additionally, he said, according to medical studies, stingless bee honey can “alleviate inflammation due to bacterial infections, pressure or stress, and help fight obesity and ageing, as well as chronic diseases.”
A research project at USM aims to harness 4,000 farmers to produce authentic stingless bee honey for consumers. Through these farmers, USM wants to develop a commercialised stingless bee industry under an initiative known as “Kelulunomic”.
Strict quality control , says Dr Zulkifli, will ensure the authenticity and consistency of the honey.
According to Dr Zulkifli, stingless bee honey has a more liquid physical characteristic, with a unique sweet and sour taste and a floral or fruity aroma.
Ministry looking into comments
In response to Dr Zulkifli’s comments, domestic trade and cost of living minister Armizan Mohd Ali told Free Malaysia Today (FMT): “This is the first time I’m hearing about this . . . this 90% figure is alarming.”
He said he has asked the ministry’s enforcement officers to contact Dr Zulkifli.
“We need to get more details to determine further action, which includes discussions with the relevant agencies such as the health ministry and the agriculture and food security ministry,” he added.
He also told FMT that the Government may need to consider some form of regulations as other countries, such as England, have done.
The Honey (England) Regulations 2015 provides legal standards for what can and cannot be classified as honey.
Manufacturers must declare if their honey contains blends, for example. The regulations also note specifications in terms of its composition, as well as laid out some general quality criteria for honey.
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