Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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adulteration is the process by which foods are debased with extraneous, weaker, cheaper, harmful, or inferior ingredients. In terms of sweeteners, honey, fruit juice, jams, and agave nectar have been adulterated with cheaper additives made from cane sugar, beet sugar, rice, corn syrup (including high-fructose corn syrup), and other ingredients. Producers of “maple syrup” have added less expensive sweeteners or injected air into the syrup to increase bulk.

Most added sugars are not usually harmful to health. National and regional food agencies have developed tests to determine whether natural sweeteners have been adulterated with other products, but government agencies cannot test every product and often only do so when a complaint has been lodged.