Capilano Honey cannot prove whether or not their honey is fake because “there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.” The viewpoint was in a government document tendered in the Supreme Court of NSW by Capilano’s own barrister Monique Cowden.
The background to this is Capilano Honey’s and Ben McKee’s (the company is now known as Hive and Wellness Australia) injurious falsehood and defamation case against me claiming I caused them damage when I accused them of selling poisonous and fake honey in an article I published in October 2016 titled “Australia’s Capilano Honey admit selling toxic and poisonous honey to consumers“.
The federal government department, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), issued the statement in November 2018 after they investigated a complaint by Robert Costa that Capilano Honey was selling fake honey via their Allowrie brand honey which was 70% imported Chinese honey.
The ACCC found that the “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing” done in Germany by Robert Costa “is not yet reliable enough to determine whether honey is adulterated”.
Capilano’s barrister Monique Cowden claimed in court on Thursday (28/5/20) that the ACCC statement proved the Capilano Honey was not selling fake honey via their Allowrie brand. But that was clearly untrue as all the statement says in relation to the NMR testing is that it is “not yet reliable enough” as it is a new testing method.
Unfortunately for Capilano Honey the ACCC also investigated the method of testing that Capilano Honey has been using for all of its honey including its flagship Capilano branded honey and found that there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey”. In other words, all of Capilano Honey’s brands cannot be guaranteed to be pure honey.
Capilano Honey has to prove that their honey is not fake as part of their injurious falsehood claim against me which by their own evidence, the ACCC statement they tendered in court, they can’t do. It will go down in history as one of the own goals of the century.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) statement in relation to the fake honey claims by Robert Costa in 2018 is below:
Honey investigation concludes due to testing uncertainty
The ACCC has concluded its investigation into allegations Capilano Honey Limited (Capilano) breached the Australian Consumer Law in relation to representations about its ‘Allowrie’ honey and other products.
The investigation followed allegations in the media that a number of honey products including Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey, labelled ‘pure’ and ‘100% honey’ were adulterated with sugar syrup.
The allegations were based on results arising from a testing process known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing. NMR testing can be used for a variety of applications, but has only recently emerged as a testing method for honey adulteration.
The ACCC is advised NMR testing is not yet reliable enough to determine whether honey is adulterated and therefore should not be used as a basis to support legal action. This is consistent with the approach of regulators in the UK, US and the EU.
The ACCC’s investigation found Capilano had taken steps to provide assurance, and did not uncover any other evidence that supported the allegation Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey was adulterated with sugar syrup.
“During the course of our investigation however, it also became evident that there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.
“Governments and research agencies around the world are investigating alternative testing methods, including NMR, but these are not yet developed to the point they can be used with sufficient confidence,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Since 2015, the Department of Agriculture has tested imported honey using the C4 test, which did not detect adulteration in ‘Allowrie’ honey or some supermarket private-label products.
“The ACCC understands that where there are different tests for honey products that produce different results, it can cause significant frustration among consumers and industry,” Mr Keogh said.
“We understand the Department of Agriculture, which is best placed to determine the most appropriate form of honey testing, is reviewing testing standards.”
“It’s important that consumers have confidence in the claims made about the foods they purchase, including honey. The ACCC urges the honey industry and the Department of Agriculture develop an agreed approach to testing, and implement more robust programs to provide greater assurance about the integrity of their products,” said Mr Keogh.
The allegations raised with the ACCC in September 2018 related to blended Australian and imported honey and not Capilano’s Australian honey range. Consequently, the ACCC’s investigation only focused on Capilano’s blended imported and Australian honey product under the Allowrie and certain supermarket private label brands.
The inspection of imported honey is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture does not use NMR testing to test honey for adulteration.
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Categories: Capilano Honey