Honey mixed with sugar might be sweet, but it is not "honey.''
Food companies and other producers that add sweeteners to honey may soon have to alert consumers by labeling their products as a "blend,'' the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.
Only manufactures that do not add sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners should label their products as pure "honey,'' the FDA said in draft guidelines posted online.
The proposal aims "to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or misbranded,'' the agency wrote.
Americans consume more than 400 million pounds of honey each year, according to U.S. government and industry estimates. But just 149 million pounds were produced in the United States last year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed.
To feed America's sweet tooth, much honey is imported, and U.S. producers are worried about cheap substitutes.
Pure honey is generally more expensive than versions mixed with corn syrup and traditional sugar, and prices reached a record high of $2.12 a pound last year, according to the USDA.