Are you consuming adulterated honey?

A recent study from Macquarie University analysed 100 honeys from 19 countries to see if they were adulterated, including Australia. The study included five raw honey samples and 95 commercial samples, 38 of them from Australian-based producers.

The results showed that more than a quarter of commercial honey brands had potentially been watered down with sugar cane, corn syrup or other products.

Their study used the only internationally accepted method for determining honey adulteration. This method detects the presence of sugars from a type of plants known as C4 plants – the group that includes corn and sugar cane – as opposed to pure honey, which is made from the nectar of flowers from a different group, called C3 plants.

Some operators adulterate honey with rice sugars that enable them to avoid the C4 test. Some rice syrup producers openly advertise that their products will not cause adulterated honeys to fail the C4 test.

Honey can be adulterated either during or after production. Inadvertent adulteration might happen through overfeeding of sucrose to bees during periods when food sources are limited, or at harvest time. This practice, if done occasionally, can protect colonies at time of low food availability. But if used injudiciously it can also filter through into the finished product.

In order to help the industry Randox Food Diagnostics developed the Evidence Investigator analyser. The Investigator uses Biochip Array Technology (BAT), a technology that was developed by Randox, to detect multiple residues (up to 45) from a single sample. Tests for honey include a vast range of antimicrobials such as Quinolones, Streptomycin, Chloramphenicol, Nitrofurans and more. Randox Food Diagnostics are also soon to release a pesticides array. Also offered are a range of ELISA test kits.

Alongside the evidence Investigator Randox Food Diagnostics developed the RX misano for enzymatic analysis of honey. The RX misano is now available for the analysis of diastase, total sugars (glucose/fructose), HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) & colouration and coming soon sucrose.

Randox Food Diagnostics will be attending the 6th international Mugla Beekeeping & Pine Honey Congress in Mugla Turkey from the 15th – 19th October Stop by booth 34 to learn more about our product offerings for honey.

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