Suppose a liquor distributor took cheap guaro, dropped in some amber dye and called the product “Almost Johnny Walker.”
That may seem far-fetched, but marketers of honey appear to be doing about the same thing, according to a survey by the economics ministry.
The survey found that honey substitutes or syrup are being marketed in a way that shoppers probably think they are buying real honey.
Under a Costa Rican directive honey cannot be sold as such if there is anything else in the jar beside the product of bees.
The ministry’s Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor conducted a survey in June and September of 55 supermarkets and food outlets in Alajuela, Naranjo, Heredia and San José.
There was extensive use of bee hive and honey photos on the labels but far fewer of the containers held actual honey. There was a large amount of honey substitutes, sucedáneos in Spanish, and syrups, jarabes in Spanish.
Technically at least seven products had labels that were deficient in one way or another. The surveyor also found that some extra labels had been affixed to the products to hide the fact that they were syrups.
The label showing the last date of sale were pasted in such a way that the name jarabe or similar could not be seen, said the ministry. In other cases, the words were much smaller than the word honey on the label as in
Some food firms received citations that may end in fines.
A beekeeping organization, the Cámara Nacional de Fomento de la Apicultura, participated in presenting the results of the survey.
Honey is more expensive than the fructose, glucose and other sugar fluids that substitute for honey.