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CSE, Capilano trade charges over contaminated honey

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Australian honey maker Capilano are trading charges on each other, with the former rebutting Capilano’s rejection of the findings of the tests on honey conducted by the centre.

The tests conducted by CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Lab had found high levels of antibiotics in most leading brands of honey sold in the country, including names like Dabur and Patanjali and foreign brands like Capilano. Capilano’s honey sample was found to contain three antibiotics and was non-compliant with the Indian government’s Export Inspection Council’s (EIC) export standards, as well as some standards imposed in Australia itself.

However, rejecting the claims, Capilano in a statement said: “Capilano’s own test results on the batches of honey, identified by the dates on the packaging of the product identified in reports, show no detection of the residues alleged to be in the honey. These dates indicate a product that was allegedly packed by Capilano 30 months ago.”

In response to the company’s claims, CSE Deputy Director Chandra Bhushan said: “CSE stands by its study and its findings. This is a standard response from a company which has been caught in the act – it immediately goes into a denial mode. We had seen similar responses from when we had tested soft drinks for pesticides but the Joint Parliamentary Committee which looked into our study vindicated our findings.”

On Capilano’s claim that the sample could have been counterfeit, CSE’s scientists pointed out that the sample was picked up randomly from a shop, and was clearly labelled with the company’s name and other information. Capilano Managing Director Roger Masters said the company had experienced counterfeit products previously in Thailand and Indonesia, where the Capilano brand had been copied to the extent that it was neither Capilano’s honey, nor even a product from Australia.

The company also said that recently it objected to trademark applications commenced in India to register a ‘look-a-like name’ – “Capilona”.

“If Capilano thinks counterfeits of its products are being sold in Indian markets, it’s the company’s problem. We have picked up a product which had their label and we believed it was a Capilano product. India has no regulations for the honey it imports, which makes it an easy market for foreign firms and their products,” Bhushan added.

First Published: Sun, September 19 2010. 00:47 IST