A honey advert at a supermarket in Jiangsu. 500,000 tons of honey goes on sale in China each year but the manager of a food company believes the figures don't add up. (File Photo/CFP)
About 80% of the honey available in the Chinese market is fake and manufactured from cane sugar, according to Beijing Business Today.
The paper quoted Wang Guanqun, general manager of a food company in Henan, as saying the country produced 180,000 tons of honey a year, of which 82,000 tons were exported. He said there was no record of any imports of honey.
However, he said, annually 500,000 tons of honey goes on sale in China, 400,000 tons of which is presumed spurious, made with cane sugar.
The paper said fake honey didn't attract public attention because it was not an essential food. It was consumed mainly by women, children and the elderly who do not know how honey was produced nor how to distinguish fake honey from genuine honey.
A well-known honey producer in Beijing agreed with Wang but said that fake honey was rare in Beijing because of the local health officials' stringent clampdowns.
News reports in April said a well-known brand of honey sold at many Chinese supermarkets, at the price of 10 yuan (US$1.56) per bottle, was made with sugar water and contained no honey at all. Its actual cost did not exceed 2 yuan (US$0.31), the reports alleged.
In order to eradicate the widespread sale of fake honey, Liang Mingxuan, a researcher with CIConsulting suggested the government impose standards for honey on producers, while simultaneously teaching consumers to distinguish fake honey from genuine honey.