Quebec honey producer stung by consumer magazine test
The June issue of consumer magazine Protegez-Vous features honey is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of at least one honey producer.
Tests performed by the Options Consommateurs organization found that one-third of honey sold on shelves were flawed or violated Canadian standards.
The organization said its tests showed that multiple brands of honey supposedly made from bees that ate the nectar of Manuka flowers in New Zealand showed signs of adulteration.
The problems included honey having extra sugar added, which manufacturers do to cut costs. Extra sugar was found in Three Acres' summer honey, and in Lady Sarah's pure honey.
Other problems included signs of overheating, which alters the taste of honey but is still safe to eat.
The criticism of Quebec honey Three Acres' hit a nerve with its producer Liliane Morel.
“We promise that we have never, ever done anything wrong, that you are getting a quality product from the bottom of our hearts,” she said.
Morel and her partner have been producing honey in the Eastern Townships for 27 years.
“We have no problem having our honey tested. The problem is that we've been accused of putting sugar in our honey which is totally not true,” she said.
Morel said she was flabbergasted by the Protegez-Vous test, completed in a lab in France. Each honey underwent two tests: one for added fructose and an MRI to confirm the ingredients.
“We know what we do and we know what we do not do and add sugar to our honey is definitely not something that we do or will ever do,” she said.
Store brands, like those from Costco and Walmart, fared well in the test and were among the least expensive.
All the honeys tested and can all be found on Canadian store shelves but they aren't all necessarily Canadian products.
Morel wasn't privy to the test results before publication and doesn't know where the sample identified as hers originated.
She also thinks Protegez-Vous should have given her an opportunity to defend herself before publishing.
“Our reputation, our 27 years’ reputation, is at stake. We do honest work, we love what we do and this is not ending here,” she said, adding that if need be she'll have her honey tested again to prove its purity.