India’s first honey lab in Anand

June 4, 2018
 
Milk city Anand will soon be a centre for the country’s first hi-tech laboratory which will test honey — a symbol of well-being. Anand-headquartered National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) which is promoting scientific bee-keeping among farmers in the country, will house the world-class honey testing lab in collaboration with the National Bee Board (NBB).

NDDB has started the process of setting up the honey testing facility which will come up as part of its multi-disciplinary laboratory – Centre for Analysis in Livestock and Food (CALF), that currently deals with the testing needs of dairy food industry and livestock sector.

“Such a facility will develop a world class honey authenticity capability in the country and promote consumer confidence for honey,” said a NDDB official, adding that currently Indian laboratories lack analytical facilities to meet the stringent benchmarks for purity and quality of honey as per international regulations including that of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the European Union Commission.

“Mostly samples of honey for export are sent to Intertek’s laboratory at Germany or United States for testing before being exported to meet the requirements of international regulations,” the official said.

The authenticity of honey is one of the most crucial parts of honey testing besides quality parameters, residues and contaminants.

“Authenticity of honey includes on the one hand, the determination of the geographical and botanical origin and on the other hand, it must be evaluated whether honey has been adulterated with foreign sugars or whether honey was produced by excessive sugar feeding to the bees,” the official said.

In February last, NDDB along with NBB had initiated the drive to promote bee-keeping among farmers by utilizing the dairy cooperative network in the country.

The nationwide drive was kicked off to sensitize extension officers and field staff of milk unions located in different part of the country regarding importance of bee-keeping as an additional livelihood option and its role in enhancing yields of major agricultural and horticultural crops.
 
Farmers are being provided practical training by well–known bee-keepers and institutions of the country.

“Besides honey, farmers are also trained in production of other bee-hive products such as wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and bee-venom,” the official said.

Some of the milk unions including Banas Dairy in Gujarat, West Bengal’s Sunderban, Bihar’s Muzaffarpur have already started procuring and marketing of honey using their dairy infrastructure and many other milk unions are in the process of initiating the activity.

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