The government is planning to introduce a traceability system to check adulteration and contamination in honey we consume. The system will have end-to-end record to track the source of honey. “We will launch a pilot project soon,” said an agriculture ministry official.
“We need to develop a mechanism to track honey right from beehive to packaging to check adulteration at every level. National Bee Board (NBB), the apex body for promoting apiculture, will be the nodal organisation for this project.” The move follows recent reports of adulteration in honey by many popular brands, which have affected the trust of consumers. In 2019-20, the country achieved record production of 120,000 tonnes of honey. But in the absence of a proper mechanism, only a small quantity of this was traceable.
The project aims to set up an electronic records system designed to ensure product traceability through all stages of production, processing and distribution, which will also help in the application of good production and manufacturing practices.
“There are around 10,000 beekeepers, processors and traders registered with NBB. We will expand the database and scale up the traceability system to ensure consumption of unadulterated honey,” he said. There have been many cases of honey contamination in the country, but it has been difficult to establish exact places of origin due to the lack of specific traceability records. Contaminated products have been destroyed to protect consumer health, in accordance with the protocols of destination markets, but it has not been possible to identify the specific beehives or beekeepers concerned so that any substandard honey-production practices may be rectified.