PTI, 07th May 2003
After SARS, now beware of Chinese honey!!
Next time you take your daily dose of honey, watch out if it is imported from China for there is a fair chance of your body immune system being affected by it.
According to consumer interest bodies, Chinese honey, banned in several countries, is making inroads in Indian market to the detriment of the health of common man.
Chinese honey, establishing its presence in India and even being re-exported, is contaminated with chloramphenicol, which might render a person resistant to antibiotics used in the treatment of typhoid and paratyphoid, director Consumer Unity and Trust Society Rajan R Gandhi said in New Delhi.
He said chloramphenicol, an antibiotic, was extensively used to cure these diseases until it was banned worldwide in 1970s as it can cause life threatening aplastic anaemia in humans.
Since Chinese honey contains chloramphenicol, it has been banned in several countries including the US, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and other European Union countries, he added.
Non-government organisations feel having lost its market in the West there has been a slide in the price of Chinese honey, a fact that some traders have used to their advantage. This has happened at a time when price of Indian honey has increased three-fold.
Selvi Roy of CUTS said a few Indian companies are circumventing this price rise by successfully blending the contaminated honey imported from China and exporting it under their name with a ‘Produce of India’ label.
An official of the Centre for International Trade and Agriculture said government should check import of such honey by using existing laws.
According to CUTS, the fact that contaminated honey was being exported with the ‘Produce of India’ label jeopardised the interests and stature of the Indian industry.
This amounts to falsification and cheating of consumers in India and across the globe,” Roy said.
Good image of Indian honey in particular and agro-based products in general is being tarnished, another consumer activist added.
CITA pointed out that every agro-based consignment entering the country should get a sanitary certificate endorsing it fit and safe for human consumption.
It said, however, this requirement is clearly not being taken seriously or acted upon by the trade division of the agriculture ministry.
The provision for undertaking such checks and charging for the same is provided for under the Indian Livestock Importation Act, it added.
Consumer activists have now petitioned the government to ‘act fast’ to curb such illegal and harmful practices.
07th May 2003, Business Standard
Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has blamed the ministry of agriculture for allowing imports of contaminated Chinese honey into India saying that it was lax regarding testing. “Every agro-based consignment entering the country should get a sanitary certificate endorsing it fit and safe for human consumption. This requirement is not being taken seriously or acted upon by the trade division of the agriculture ministry, ” Rajan R Gandhi, director, CUTS, said. Checks and charging for them was provided under Indian Livestock Importation Act.