Purity of Honey

Asked November 19, 2016, 2:48 AM EST

Hello. I am Sharif Abu Hayat from Bangladesh. I did my MS from IPFW, Indiana, I am an entrepreneur and one of my product line is honey. There are several times I get questions from customers that ant is attracted to the honey and therefore this honey is not pure. Sometimes I get reverse questions - that ants are not attracted to our honey and so its not authentic. But I know for sure that my honey is without any adulteration whatsoever. There are several other so called 'tests' by which it is claimed that authenticity of honey can be ensured. Like pouring in water or burning the honey. However very few claims have solid scientific reasons behind them. Can you please, give me some science based easy experiments by which people can test purity of honey in their home easily? Thanks in advance for your support via the extension program.

Outside United States food safety honey beekeeping

1 Response

First of all, what type of purity are you trying to prove? chemical additives, water added? added sugars, etc? Honey that is straight from the hive that is just extracted, filtered and bottled can still have pesticides, herbicides and fungicides residues in it. It really depends on the environment that the bees are in to what may be found in the honey. IF you want to guarantee you honey purity a sample will need to be analyzed to detect any impurities such as pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
The "Ant test" that you mentioned is just a myth. Ants will be attracted to anything sweet.
As for Scientifically proven "house hold" tests there are a few.

  1. Additional added sugars will make honey sticky when rubbed between two fingers. Pure honey will not be sticky.
  2. The taste of honey will NOT linger on the tongue. Honey that has added sugars will linger due to the added sugars.
  3. Coating a matchstick with pure honey , it will still ignite . IF the honey has added moisture or sugars the match will not lite.
  4. Pure honey placed on a bloater paper will not be absorbed. Placed on a white paper or cloth, pure honey will not stain. Impure honey will leave a stain and be absorbed into the bloater paper.
  5. Pure honey placed in water does not dissolve, it will clump at the bottom. Honey that is mixed with water to dilute it will readily dissolve in water with out much disturbance.
  6. Pure raw honey will have some impurities in it as particles of dust, pollen and bee parts that settle to the bottom of the jar. ( this also depends on the amount of filtering it has gone through) Fake honey will be free from any pollens, dust or bee parts.
  7. And the strangest test is to mix honey with egg yolk. Pure honey will mix with the yolk making it appear to be cooked. fake honey will have no affect on the yolk
Any other test that you may want to do will require a testing facility and those are costly.

I hop this answers you question