Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday inaugurated India’s first honey testing lab set up by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) at Anand.
The testing lab will unlock potential for apiarists to not just get domestic business but also take advantage of exports to the US and Europe. Till recently, the exporters were required to ship their samples to Germany for testing.
The development comes after National Bee Board’s decade-long wait for a government testing facility for honey.
“Standard quality testing and certifications are the primary requirements and preconditions for exporting honey to the markets such as the US and Europe. The new lab will test honey as per the norms specified by the food safety regulator FSSAI. The quality honey will boost exports and ensure better rates for farmers,” said Tomar adding that this move will contribute to India’s efforts to double farmers’ income by 2025.
The lab — set up with ₹7.7-crore funding from the government — has been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and Export Inspection Council. It has also got an approval from FSSAI as a national reference lab. The government has allocated ₹500 crore for bee-keeping infrastructure development under Atmanirbhar Bharat package.
NDDB Chairman Dilip Rath said that the Board has set up the facility after FSSAI notified quality standards for honey, as there was no comprehensive testing lab in the country.
Rath also stated that a proposal has been sent to the Union Agriculture Ministry to provide Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing to identify ‘Country of Origin’.
During the e-inauguration, Union Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh said, “Honey’s authenticity had become a serious issue as suppliers indulged into unethical practices for economic gains. The testing lab will help honey farmers, cooperatives and honey industry to produce quality honey for domestic consumption and exports.”