The Government of India (GoI) had directed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to analyse the study done by the Centre for Science and Environment on the presence of antibiotics in honey sold commercially.
The action came after the GoI took cognizance of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study stating presence of antibiotics in 12 brands of honey sold across the country. 12 brands of honey tested, of which two were International brands, were found to contain antibiotics from the banned Chloramphenicol to the broad spectrum Ciprofloxacin and Erythromycin.
The 32 member technical committee of the Apiary Industry Sectional Committee of BIS met on January 5, 2011 to revise the Indian Standard Specification for extracted honey. The meeting was chaired by T P Rajendran, ADG, Plant Protection and Quarantine and included members from honey manufacturers associations, agriculture university (Punjab Agriculture University), consumer organisation (Consumer VOICE) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The technical meeting concluded that each stakeholder should give specific comments on the clause in the Indian Standard Specification that discusses the absence of additives in honey. Additives include pesticides, antibiotics and heavy metals.
The comments by the stakeholders will then be discussed by an eight member panel, members of which are currently being notified. The panel is likely to include members from FSSAI, National Bee Board, Export Inspection Council, Indian Council for Medical Research, Drug Control of India, AGMARK, consumer organisation.