Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

UK honey makers blast EU for ‘discriminating’ against them with petty new law

British honey producers have blasted petty new EU laws which they claim are “overzealous” and discriminatory towards them. The European Parliament has demanded changes to EU labelling rules for honey as part of a swathe of updates to their “breakfast directives”.

At present, UK and EU honey laws are in sync as neither has been reformed since Britain voted to leave in 2016. However, now the new reforms will see UK honey exporters forced to follow new guidelines to sell their products to member states. The new rules will mean that honey sold in the EU will be required to have listed the country it was harvested in on the front of the jar or bottle.

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For blended honeys from multiple countries, all countries must be listed in descending order of percentage on the label.

In the UK, labels aren’t required to be as rigorous. Honey producers can simply state on its labels that it contains a “blend of non-EU honeys”, rather than being made to list each country of origin.

The new rules were drawn up following a study from the Commission which revealed that honey was being mixed with much cheaper sugar syrup, linked to Chinese imports. All ten of the UK imported honeys failed the authenticity testing.

However, the British Honey Importers and Packers Association (BHIPA) told The Telegraph that the Commission’s research is inadequate. The group said: “We believe the study to be highly problematic, lack veracity and clearly discriminate against non-EU honeys.”

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It added: “An overzealous EU approach to solve a problem we do not believe to be widespread in the UK and based on an EU study we believe lacks veracity, is unlikely to be in the best interest of British honey companies or consumers.

The group went on to say that “significant disruption to European and global honey supply” caused by European droughts and the conflict in Ukraine forced producers to “change blends and source alternatives”.

An EU spokesman poured cold water on the claims, saying: “There is absolutely no discrimination between honey of EU and non-EU origin. The EU is not self-sufficient for its honey consumption and therefore imports honey. The final choice is up to the consumer.”

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