Food concerns took centre stage in studies carried out by Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog in 2018, with the alarm sounded over harmful substances people may be filling their bellies with.
According to the Consumer Council, some honey and tofu were found to be not as healthy as previously thought, while trends uncovered in some highly sought-after bakery products sparked advice to people to vary their choices.
Here are some questions raised, which may influence your diet decisions in the year ahead:
Is honey really honey?
HK$1,000 jar of manuka honey diluted with plant sugar, watchdog says
The council tested 35 honey products and 10 manuka honey samples, reporting in July that Natural Bee Honey, produced by Hero, contained up to eight antibiotics including a cancer-causing substance called metronidazole.
At the time, an agent for the company told the council that the products had been taken off shelves in June and it was investigating the matter.
Another product, Natural Honey, made by Ta Miaw Ko in Taiwan, was also found to contain two antibiotics, with one that could harm male fertility. The company did not respond to the council regarding the results.
Meanwhile, tests suggested seven honey products had other sweeteners. Among them, Taiwanese Honey made by Yan Kang was found to have 85 per cent of its content comprising sugars derived from sweetcorn and sugar cane syrup. The council did not receive a reply from Yan Kang.
A manuka honey product costing more than HK$1,000, made by Superbee UMF, was also found to have sugars from other sources. The factory for Superbee UMF said its products did not contain cane sugar and were on par with local standards.
Comment: This article shows what New Zealand producers have known for many years, that the adulteration of honey, particularly Manuka honey because of its rarity, high level of antibacterial properties and price is widespread around the world.
How do you ensure that you are buying the genuine article, quite simple, buy it from a New Zealand based store and make sure it carries the UMF trademark certifying purity and authenticity.
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