As it is known, honey is a nutrient with high nutritional value formed by the processing of the contents of bees from flowers with some enzymes in their bodies. The honey formed by the teamwork of flowers and bees is completely natural. Honey, which is very beneficial for the human body, is not a factory product and is a sweet beauty that nature offers us. It is of great importance for our health to be natural to take advantage of the honey that comes to our tables with the miracle of bees.
Man cannot produce honey without bees. However, there are synthetic honey produced using different materials. Fake honey events, especially in recent years, cause the consumer to look suspiciously in honey jars. Consumers who focus on consuming all-natural honey from hive to table began rightly to ask the question “How is genuine honey understood?”. In fact, fake or genuine honey is impossible to understand at a glance. There are important details you need to know about this.
Real honey is a foodstuff that is produced as a result of the analysis and packaging of the flavor produced by bees in beehives without any additives. That is, the only source of genuine honey is natural and contains no additives. It is, of course, unnatural that Giving sugar syrup to the bee without letting it take the nectar from flowers, adding the honey enzyme to the sugar syrup or mixing some fake honey and multiplying the amount of natural honey.
The reality of honey cannot be understood from its taste, smell or appearance. Said criteria may be decisive, but it cannot be concluded in this way. The only safe method to determine whether the honey is imitated is to perform analysis in the laboratory. The naturalness and purity of honey analyzed in Research and Quality Control Laboratories can be proved 100%. For this, you should buy packaged honey from brands with an accredited laboratory.
As we have just mentioned, it is not clear whether honey is an imitated one or not from the taste, smell or appearance of honey. The only safe method to be carried out on this subject is to conduct analysis in the Research and Quality Control Laboratories. The analyzes carried out in accredited laboratories ensure that the content and naturalness of honey can be determined precisely. Therefore, honey taken from the honeycomb must be filtered and analyzed.
Within the scope of the analysis, firstly, whether the honey is real or not is examined. Many properties of honey, from conductivity to sugar structure, are subject to examination. Sensory analysis of the honey is determined to be compatible with the chemical results. All these steps are performed together with the analyzes. To determine the authenticity of honey, pollen analysis is performed to determine which flowers the bee receives from the nectar. For all these analyzes, a laboratory with international standards with an expert and experienced team is required.
How Can Real Honey and Imitated Honey Be Distinguished?
Known as one of the most miraculous foods of nature, honey is a source of healing for many diseases and adds flavor to breakfasts and desserts. However, imitated honey, which has recently been added to the production of additives, is seriously threatening human health. Here are the tricks of distinguishing genuine honey from the imitated one.
It is not possible to distinguish between real honey and fake honey at first sight. In recent years, an increasing number of fake honey producers are doing their job so well that even those who have spent years in honey and honey production are difficult to distinguish between real and fake honey from time to time.
The fact that honey is light-colored and dark-colored is not directly related to the quality of honey. The color of honey is related to the flowers visited by bees. For example, sunflower and thyme honey are light-colored and pine honey is dark-colored honey. In honey products packaged by conventional methods, even the color of honey in each jar may be different, but honey produced by fabrication methods generally have one color of any kind.
The best way to distinguish imitated honey and real honey is by analyzing it in the laboratory. It is not possible to distinguish the honey from its color, smell or any other feature whether it is real or fake. However, I’ve listed some practices that might be useful:
- View Packaging
You should make sure that the honey jars/packages in the supermarkets are labeled with “honey codex”. In addition, if there are glucose, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, and sugar included in the ingredients, you can understand that honey contains additives.
If you have observed that the honey you buy has been saccharified from the base of the jar as you wait, we can say that the probability of it being imitated is low. It is known that real honey, which has been waiting in the refrigerator for 30 days, has almost the stiffness of butter.
Fake honey often appears lighter than real honey. It would be a good choice not to buy light jars of honey. But not every dark honey is real honey. Counterfeit honey producers can add a number of additives to make the fake honey darker.
There is no smell of genuine honey. If you can smell when you smell honey, it can be said that honey contains additives. However, not every odorless honey is genuine. Manufacturers can suppress the smell of fake honey with a number of substances.
When you get genuine honey with a spoon, it is known to elongate for a while. Honey can be said to be imitated if you can get it directly on a spoon.
- Warm Water Test
Put 1 tablespoon of honey in warm water and try. If the honey is real, it will stay the way you left it and if it is imitated it will dissolve.
- Paper Towel Test
If you put 1 tablespoon of honey on a paper towel, it can be said to be imitated if it is absorbed by the towel.
- Combustion Test
If a piece of cotton wrapped in a skewer is lit when you dip it into the honey and keep it on fire, it is likely to be the real honey.
Although the above methods are the most commonly used methods to distinguish between genuine and imitated honey, the most reliable method is to have honey analyzed by food engineers.
Also, let’s remember briefly what we should pay attention to when buying honey:
You should carefully examine the label information on the packaging of honey you will purchase. On the label of honey;
• Manufacturer’s name, address, and telephone number must be included.
• The producer should have “Business Registration Number” obtained from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock.
• In addition to the above information, on the labels of honey sold in honeycomb form, the producer number of the farmers producing honey should be written on the packaging/label.
• When buying organic honey, in addition to the issues mentioned above, there should be “Organic Product Logo” given by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock on the packaging indicating that the honey is an “Organic Product”.
If your honey freezes and crystallizes when you put it in the refrigerator it is more likely to be real honey. Cold storage test generally gives more accurate results in flower honey. In specific and dense honey types such as chestnut honey and pine honey, the cold storage test may not always give a definite result. If you put your cold-frozen honey in a double boiler warm water with its jar, your honey will return to its original state as if nothing had happened. You can safely consume this honey.
FAQ about Imitated & Real Honey
- How to tell if honey is real honey?
It is impossible to understand whether honey is natural, from its taste, color, flowability. Even with a single analysis, it may not be possible to determine whether it is natural. It can be understood that honey is real or fake in the laboratories with sufficient technical equipment where all analyzes can be performed.
- What are these analyzes?
Quality, edible, healthy and natural honey goes through 62 separate analyzes until it reaches your tables. The first of these is an analysis of individual samples from each can, to check for commercial glucose in honey. Then, the analysis of the type of honey and the water content of the honey is determined. Amount of natural sugars in honey such as Proline, Fructose, Glucose, Saccharose should be checked. These analyzes reveal whether there is any external intervention to the honey. In addition, whether the bee is fed sugar or not is revealed as a result of the analysis. The pollen analysis determines which plant the bee collects pollen from.
The bee-related determinations are not limited to this. It is also determined whether antibiotics are given to protect the bee against diseases. The administration of antibiotics is absolutely inconvenient. The analysis of whether the drugs used in plants is passed to the bee is also made. Honey is also checked for harmful metals from which it may be contaminated such as the roadside asphalt, exhaust gas or tin. In addition, whether there are semi-heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc, and cadmium in the content of honey is determined with the analyses made.
- Who is performing these analyzes? How much time does it take?
Three days for samples from the supplier and four days for honey from the beekeeper. These samples are examined by a team of food engineers, chemists, chemistry and food technicians.
- What is the result of these analyses?
Honey that can not pass with positive results from the analysis is returned to the beekeeper.
- Is the analysis only made by marked honey brands?
It would be wrong to say that only branded honey is having analysis. Because branded honey does not do all of these analyzes. But brandless honey types are definitely not being analyzed.
- Is there a sanction if anything other than the expected analysis results in the controls?
There’s fine. For example, if the HMF analysis of honey (an analysis that results from heating the honey) is inappropriate, the fine is paid but the company is not declared.
- Is the crystallization of honey normal?
The most common sugars naturally found in honey are glucose and fructose. If the rate of glucose in the plant’s nectar is high honey will crystallize over time. If the amount of fructose is excessive, it can be stored for longer without crystallization. The crystallization of honey is related to the composition of honey (glucose and water), the presence of particles (pollen, etc.) and the storage temperature. Honey does not crystallize below 5°C and above 25°C., The optimum temperature for crystallization is 14°C.
- What causes the color and consistency of honey to change from time to time?
The color of the honey varies according to the flowers the bee travels and the nectar it receives. Its fluidity is also related to early milking of honey from the hive. The color and fluidity can, therefore, vary within certain limits.
- It’s said that honey sold outdoors are more natural, right?
Control of honey sold outdoors is not performed. Since they have not been tested in the laboratory, you cannot know whether there are additives such as sugar and antibiotics in the open honey. Branded honey is required to carry out all checks in accordance with the regulations. In fact, branded honeys offer natural honey in the most accurate way thanks to laboratory tests. It is not clear whether the honey you consume as open honey is presented as natural or not. However, the branded honey types are released to the market after passing the necessary controls. The open honey may contain antibiotic residues, pesticide drug residues or naphthalene. These are all elements that will negatively affect human health when consumed. I recommend branded honey for yourself and your child.
- What is the difference between comb honey from extracted honey in terms of health?
There is no difference in composition between comb honey and extracted honey. Both have the same nutritional value. Consuming comb honey has no advantage over extracted honey in terms of human health. However, I do not find healthy to consume comb honey. Because the filtered honey is obtained from all honeycomb, a homogeneous mixture is created and analyzed by the experts. In comb honey, it is technically difficult and laborious to analyze each honeycomb individually.