New Delhi: Close on the heels of an NGO claiming to have found high levels of antibiotics in honey, the government has said such practices are completely prohibited and that India follows stringent safety standards similar to the EU and the US.
"In the matter of admissibility of antibiotics in honey, safety standards in India are similar to those in European Union and the United States where they are completely prohibited," the Food Safety and Standards Authority clarified.
An NGO had recently claimed that branded honey available in Delhi may contain antibiotics beyond permissible limits.
The study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) claimed to have detected high levels of antibiotics in some leading brands of honey, including those manufactured by international firms, sold in Delhi warning they can have serious health effects.
The six antibiotics that the environmental NGO looked for were oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, erythromycin, eurofloxacin and ciprofloxacin and it claimed that their long exposure leads to adverse health effects.
The FSSAI advisory also explained other standards like the colour of honey which should be between light to dark brown and chemical composition.
It further said the department of Agriculture and Cooperation has laid down standards of honey under the Grading and Marking Rules (AGMARK), which lays down the grades, designation of honey as Special, Grade’A and Standard to indicate the quality of honey for the purpose of certification.
It specifies the method of packing, marking and labelling and conditions for grant of certificate for authorisation. The standards of AGMARK are voluntary.