After a scathing report by the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) on honey purity claims of most major brands, two of them, Dabur and Marico, have decided to move the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), accusing each other of making false purity claims on their ads. Only three honey brands - Marico's Saffola Honey, Markfed's Sohna and Nature's Necta - had cleared all the key tests done in CSE's report. Marico was the first to move the ASCI against the "100 percent pure honey" claim by Dabur. Dabur too plans to file a complaint against Marico's Saffola honey product.
The entire controversy around the so-called 'honeygate' was triggered after the research and advocacy firm CSE in its recent report said 10 among top brands like Dabur, Patanjali, Baidyanath, Zandu, Hitkari and Apis Himalaya are allegedly adulterated with sugar syrup.
Though companies claim their products have passed the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) test, the CSE report alleged they failed the key tests done to check honey's purity. All brands have rejected the CSE report.
Reiterating its claim after the CSE report, Dabur had even put out an ad on December 3 listing out key points on its purity. It said the Dabur honey has passed all the key tests done to check purity and that it's 100 per cent pure honey with no added sugar. "Because Dabur Honey complies with all 22 FSSAI parameters; is source NMR tested; is sourced entirely from Indian beekeepers; has no added sugar or other adulterants; is also tested for antibiotics presence, as mandated by the FSSAI; and has the first corporate-owned NMR machine in India."
Meanwhile, Marico filed the complaint on December 3, challenging Dabur's claims about the NMR test. The ASCI has reportedly admitted the complaint and has taken on record for further hearing. Notably, Marico had also filed a complaint against Dabur in October about its NMR tested pure honey claims but it was upheld by the ASCI.
Dabur has said it is also filing a complaint against Saffola as its honey sample has failed the NMR test, which makes Marico's 100 percent purity claim misleading. A Marico spokesperson recently told BusinessToday.In that every batch of its honey is independently tested for purity. "Saffola guarantees 100 per cent purity of its honey irrespective of the packaging location. Every batch of Saffola Honey is tested using NMR technology, which is one of the most advanced tests in the world, in the best-in-class international laboratories to ensure that it is 100 per cent pure, free from added sugars and free from any form of adulteration," Saffola spokesperson said.