Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is "枇杷花蜜" syrup or honey?

I bought a bottle of "枇杷花蜜" in China town. Back home I saw "syrup" under the big Chinese label. The following is my email to New York State Department of Health and an abstract of their reply (with written permission).

Dear Sir/Madame,

A New York-based food company, S & M (U.S.A) ENTERPRISE CORP.,


makes Grow Notes brand syrup with a Chinese name "枇杷花蜜" (pronounced "pipa huami"). I believe there's a mismatch between the two names. The Chinese name is literally "loquat honey". If the product is indeed honey, they may be missing out on some customers who only know English. If the product is syrup, they're misleading customers to buying something that they thought would be more healthful and valuable. The label has a big bright title of "枇杷花蜜" with a small dark "Syrup" under it.

Could you tell me where I should address this email? Thank you.

Their reply:

In NYS, the term “honey” is reserved, by law, to mean “the nectar of flowers that has been transformed by, and is the natural product of the honey-bee, taken from the honeycomb and marketed in a liquid, candied or granulated condition.” (NYS Agriculture and Markets Law §205).

Unless the item meets this definition, they would not be able to label it, in the English translation, as honey. If it contains added sugars/ other ingredients, it would need to be labeled as syrup, in English ...

My email again:

Thanks very much to you both. I don't have the knowledge and obviously no scientific instrument to tell whether this particular product is syrup or honey. I'll personally avoid it for now.

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