Beware of branded honey: CSE

New Delhi: The branded honey you buy from
the market in Delhi may contain antibiotics beyond permissible
limit, cautions a study by the Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE).

The study claimed to have detected high level 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 test for six antibiotics was conducted on 12 branded
samples including ten Indian brands brought randomly from
various markets in Delhi in July last year. Eleven were found
to be contaminated with antibiotics," says the study.

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.

"We have found high content of these antibiotics in
honey. For instance, Oxytetracycline or OTC was found in 50
per cent of the samples in the range of 27 to 250 microgram
per kg (?g/kg).

"This is almost 3 to 25 times higher than the 10 ?g/kg
standard fixed by the government`s Export Inspection Council
(EIC) for exported honey," Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director,
CSE, told reporters here.

Sharing the finding of the study he said chloramphenicol,
banned by EU, was found in 25 per cent of the samples with its
levels 9 to 15 times higher than the 0.3
?g/kg standard fixed by the EIC.

Seeking strict regulatory measures, Chandra said EU had
banned Indian honey from entering any of its 27 member-
countries because the consignments were contaminated with
antibiotics and heavy metals.

"But these monitoring, checks and norms do not apply to
honey available in domestic market. There are hardly any
reports on antibiotic contamination of honey consumed within
the country," he said.

Sunita Narain, head of CSE, said "food safety regulations
are supposed to be monitored by the Food Safety and Standards
Authority of India. But it has failed to do anything to
safeguard consumer health. We cannot allow business to be more
important than the food we eat."