We use it in our tea, on our food, and sometimes as medicine. Honey is pretty useful, but is what’s inside that plastic bear really 100 percent honey? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday announced that it was seeking to clarify what the term “honey” means.
The FDA is seeking to differentiate labeling between 100 percent honey and sweetened “blends,” which typically include added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. “We developed this draft guidance to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or misbranded,” the FDA wrote.
The draft guidance comes almost three years after a petition submitted by the American Beekeeping Federation, among other groups, Reuters reported. The petition called for more accurate labeling practices in the interest of fair trade. Because pure honey tends to be more expensive than “blends,” consumers may reach for cheaper adulterated options, which are usually imported from outside of the U.S., without realizing they are impure. Although the FDA hasn’t committed to redefine pure honey from others, it has settled on revising labeling practices.
The revision will be welcomed by individuals who enjoy the natural sweetener and use it as an alternative to refined sugars and other sweeteners. While too much honey can also be a bad thing, its nutritional benefits outweigh those of regular white sugar. While about 70 to 80 percent of it is sugar, the rest is water, iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chlorine, potassium, and magnesium, according to Medical News Today. It has also shown some antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Conversely, added sugar imposes the risk of obesity and other health problems on those who eat it. Last year, results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that an average of 13 percent of total calorie consumption among adults came from added sugar. For those who ate a little over that average, between 17 and 21 percent, it translated into a 38 percent higher risk of death from heart disease.
The FDA is giving industry manufacturers 60 days to comment on the labeling proposal. Yet, even though the final guidelines will be put into effect at the end of the time period, the guidelines are not mandatory. It would benefit those who are concerned about added sugar in honey, then, to do some research.