Want some honey in your tea? Per current FDA regulations you don't know if your honey is 100-percent pure or had added sweeteners. But according to a new proposal announced Tuesday, soon you will. [Tweet this news!]
Food companies and other producers who add sweeteners to honey should label their products as a "blend," and only manufacturers that do not add sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners should label their products as pure "honey," according to an FDA draft guideline online. Additionally, the name of the product should also be accurately identified. For example, “blend of honey and sugar” needs to be on the label if the food contains more honey than added sugar, whereas if there is more added sugar than honey in the product, “blend of sugar and honey" must be used. The same would apply if a company adds corn syrup instead of sugar.
This is definitely a surprise to most consumers, especially those who are avid label readers. Even I didn’t know that the honey I purchased in my local supermarket might have sugar or corn syrup added. In this day and age, I expect all labels on products to truly identify what it contains. But perhaps I am naive.
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So how do you know if what you currently are buying is “pure” or “blended”? Honestly, it's hard to know. But what I have read is that chances are if you are buying from a local or small bee farm, than nothing is added to your honey. Just another reason to shop at your local farmer’s market. If local products aren't an option where you live, I suggest contacting the honey manufacturer and asking them.
Remember, though, even if the guidelines change, that doesn’t mean that you should start upping your intake of pure honey. Research on the nutritional benefits of honey is still inconclusive, and it has 64 calories per tablespoon, which believe it or not is 18 calories more than regular table sugar.