Two Australian media companies instructed a law firm to investigate the Australian honey industry. Twenty eight samples were collected from the Australian retail market and sent to two European laboratories for analysis by both NMR and carbon isotope analysis. The results indicated that 12 out of the 28 samples were not pure honey.
The companies involved with the non-compliant samples have challenged the results indicating that the honey samples were blends of Australian honey with other countries' honey (mainly China), which the tests especially NMR might not recognise as pure honey. However, the Australian official test is based on carbon isotopic measurement, which would only detect adulteration with C4 sugars such as cane sugar or sugars derived from maize starch. NMR is able to detect adulteration from C3 sugars such as beet sugar or sugars derived from rice starch. The European laboratory QSI undertaking the analyses has indicated that adulteration is becoming more sophisticated where a tailored blend of C3 sugars are being added honey to even avoid detection by NMR.
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