Barbados ‘vulnerable’ to food fraud

Despite having “pretty strong” food safety and security measures, Barbados is still vulnerable to food fraud, says Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) representative Ena Harvey.

During the fifth annual Barbados Food, Law and Industry Conference yesterday at Accra Beach Hotel, Harvey identified honey as one food where fraud could be a problem.

“Honey is a food product subject to food fraud internationally. If we are to produce high-quality authentic Barbadian honey, we need to have the laboratory capacity and research and development capacity to prove that our honey is genuine and authentic and even organic,” she said.

On the world market, adulterated honey is generally honey mixed with other sugar syrups from plants like sugar cane, corn, or rice. They can be cheaper and easier to produce than honey.

While it is legal to sell honey blends and they are not likely to be harmful, they might have different nutrient profiles, sweetness levels, glycaemic indexes, and have undergone different processing. These blends need to be labelled so people know what they are paying for.

The Barbados Apiculture Association is seeking to reduce honey imports and increase local honey production as Barbados was “a diamond in the rough” when it came to honey production.