CSE rebuts Chinese co exporting sugar syrup to India

Clear from correspondence with Wuhu Deli Foods that it knew and understood the honey adulteration business

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 08 December 2020
CSE response to Dabur, Patanjali

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) December 8, 2020 rebutted China-based Wuhu Deli Foods’ criticisim of the Delhi-based nonprofit’s investigation into adulteration in honey and the role played by Chinese companies in selling sugar syrup in India. 

Wuhu Deli Foods, based in Anhui province, December 7 put up a statement on its website against the #HoneyFraud investigation. It also sent CSE the statement. The company was among those contacted by CSE investigators, posing as a fictitious honey trading firm, to find out whether Chinese sugar and rice syrup could be brought into India and mixed with Indian honey, and whether this syrup-spiked honey could pass Indian testing standards.

Wuhu Deli, in its public statement, categorically denied knowledge of the syrups being solicited by CSE investigators to bypass tests to prove the authenticity of honey in India. According to the statement, the company believed the transaction had only to do with syrup, not honey.

CSE said its investigators wrote to Wuhu Deli seeking syrups that could bypass honey specifications as mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSAAI): “We clearly wrote asking for syrups that could pass C3, C4 tests, including those for SMR, TMR, and foreign oligosaccharides.”

These testing parameters that CSE researchers mentioned in the email to Wuhu Deli are to specifically test the authenticity of honey in India — and not meant for that of sugar syrups or rice syrups (which Wuhu Deli alleges it thought it was dealing in).

In fact, Wuhu Deli’s response to CSE’s request says — in clear terms — that its high fructose syrup could pass all these tests. Not just that, it also quoted prices for 10 container loads (200 tonnes) of this syrup that could bypass the above testing parameters for honey authenticity in India.

It is common knowledge that Chinese companies have expertise in syrups, which when adulterated in honey can pass the Indian testing parameters. There are numerous sellers on online marketplaces like Alibaba who advertise this. Wuhu Deli is one such advertiser and has been rated by Alibaba as a ‘gold supplier’.

According to CSE: “It is a fact that Wuhu Deli sent us a shipment of samples that contained syrup with the intention of helping us to bypass the honey testing protocols in India. It is unfortunate that because CSE is not a food importer, it did not have requisite clearances to import food products and had to cancel the shipment from Wuhu Deli. If we manage to get possession of this shipment, we will be happy to get its contents tested.” 

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