Capilano Honey (ASX:CZZ) isn't buying into the intrigue of international gangs flooding the Australian market with fake honey.
The Brisbane-based producer has slammed media reports that it may be unwittingly selling fake honey after nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) testing revealed that Allowrie's Mixed Blossom Honey was 'adulterated' in a majority of samples.
This blend of honey, which is part of the Capilano stable, is sourced from domestic and overseas sources, but is marketed as 100 per cent honey. There has been no suggestion that Capilano honey is adulterated.
Capilano managing director Dr Ben McKee has blasted the reports, arguing that the company uses 'validated internationally recognised testing of honey to determine authenticity' on every batch of imported honey.
He says Capilano has found NMR results to be 'inconsistent between batches and different laboratories assessing the same sample'.
"While we have full confidence that Allowrie Honey contains only pure honey, we also recognise that there is no consensus view from across the industry about the reliability of the NMR test that has led to the reports in the media," says McKee.
"We call on the industry to work to prove up the NMR test so that it matches the robustness of results from other testing currently relied on internationally.
"NMR tests are conducted at European laboratories and the method's essential flaw is the reliance on a database of reference honeys, and the database is underrepresented for honeys from our region."
However, Phil McCabe, president of the International Federation of Beekeepers' Association, stands by the NMR test, arguing it's the most accurate in the market.
"Adulterated honey isn't honey at all," he told the ABC's 7.30.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald alleges that fake honey is nothing more than rice syrup or beet syrup, which is not detected by official honey tests. It says fake honey is often the work of criminal gangs in China infiltrating the market for huge profits.
While McKee dismisses the consistency of NMR testing, he urges consumers who are concerned to stick with 100 per cent pure Australian honey products such as Capilano.
"It is essential for consumers to have confidence in that they are buying 100 per cent pure honey," he says.
"We cannot have one test saying one thing and another saying honey is 100 per cent pure. That is where we find ourselves today.
"We stand by our Allowrie honey as being 100 per cent pure honey and the testing we employ on every batch.
"However, customers have a choice and there are great quality 100 per cent pure Australian honey products on the market such as our Capilano brand, supplied by over 600 Australian beekeeping families."
Capilano is currently subject to a $200 million takeover by Australian-Chinese private equity fund Wattle Hill.
However, Australia's Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) today revealed it had lifted its stake in Capilano to 5.76 per cent sparking talk of a possible bidding war for the honey producer.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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