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July 23, 2011

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Popular honey may be impure

SHANGHAI authorities are inspecting honey produced by the Shanghai-based Guan Sheng Yuan Group after a food-safety group claimed that the honey was made partly of white rice syrup.

The Green Basket Food Safety Promotion Team, an organization founded under the instruction of the British Embassy in China, recently sent eight brands of honey bought from Beijing markets for quality testing.

Three brands, including Shanghai's century-old Guan Sheng Yuan, were not pure, reported the Qinghuangdao Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau in east China's Shandong Province.

The other two impure products were Lohas medlar honey and Baihua children's honey, said Green Basket.

Guan Sheng Yuan yesterday said in a statement that Green Basket's information "was not true" and that it never added anything to honey.

"Our honey is pure and safe bee products which have passed authorities' quality test," said the statement.

The Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision is now inspecting Guan Sheng Yuan honey, and will announce its result soon.

The cost of producing mixed honey is only 30 percent that of obtaining pure bee honey, said Green Basket.

Shanghai consumers expressed concern this week, because time-honored Guan Sheng Yuan is one of their favorite brands.

At two popular food stores on Nanjing Road E., Shanghai Daily found that customers were unaware of the news. Two shop assistants also said they had not been informed of any honey problems.

Guan Sheng Yuan is a brand well-known among consumers for its long history and high quality, said an assistant who declined to be named but said daily sales are strong.

Consumer Ge Luoyan said she had always trusted Guan Sheng Yuan more than any other brand. On hearing that the honey may not be pure, Ge said she would stop buying it until authorities certify its quality.

"If Guan Sheng Yuan has quality problems, no other brand is trustable then," she said. "I may just stop consuming honey if Guan Sheng Yuan honey is no longer available."

Founded in 1915, Guan Sheng Yuan is a food group producing candy, bee products, snacks and instant food. In 2008, milk candy produced by the company was found to contain melamine, a chemical which causes kidney stones.


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