It is planned to amend the beekeeping legislation.
According to the bill’s sponsors, the introduction of accurate legal definitions will help to reduce adulteration incidents in the honey market. At present, it is common to market products as “organic” when they are not, and honey is only present in the “content”, told one of the bill’s sponsors Sergey Mitin to Izvestia.
According to the draft bill, honey is “the natural sweet substance, produced by bees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants, or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store and leave in honeycombs to ripen and mature”.
Whereas, "honey product" is a product made from honey.
According to Dmitry Vostrikov, the Executive Director of Rusprodsoyuz, over 80,000 tons of honey is produced annually in Russia. Russia is the world’s top five largest producers of natural honey. However, half of products manufactured in the country are counterfeit. Counterfeiters blend honey with syrups to reduce the cost of product, and sell the fake honey at a price of real honey. Besides, in recent years, honey fraud has been growing at a faster rate. However, due to the absence of a legal definition of honey, counterfeiters cannot be held accountable, he noted.
At the same time, honey producers believe that the new bill will not help in the fight against the illegal trade of counterfeit products. Moreover, the new legislation will allow counterfeiters to produce "fake honey products" legally.
According to Valery Kapunin, the Chairman of the Russian Beekeepers Union and the Russian Beekeeping Council, "honey products" and "counterfeit honey" is the same thing.
“The consumer has the right to buy “blueberry honey”, which is not honey, but the product must be labelled “confectionery”,” he said. According to him, the legislation "On beekeeping" should have a clear legal definition of honey.
Beekeepers Union of the Customs Union formed a working group to discuss amendments to the legislation. They also believe that it is not necessary to introduce the definition "honey product" in the legislation. “Now we need to protect the definition “honey” as was done by the EU. The EU definition states that honey is only honey. What the rest will be called is not our deal. If natural honey is mixed with another product, or it was altered in any way through any manufacturing process, such product can no longer be called honey,” Dmitry Nikolaev, the Union chairman, told Izvestia.
Sergey Mitin noted that the senators will once again meet with beekeepers in order to discuss their proposals. He has agreed that the main task today is to accurately define honey in the legislation. “As regards to the other two proposed definitions, the bill’s sponsors themselves have doubts. These definitions may be excluded from the amendments,” he added.