Importance and different methods of diagnosing natural honey and evaluating them

Do you know the reason for the importance of recognizing natural honey? The results of a study published in the Journal of Food Science showed that honey is the third most counterfeit food in the world. Also in 2018, the EU revealed that 20% of imported honey is counterfeit and does not meet quality standards. According to the report, two common frauds are mixing genuine honey with other types of syrups or selling counterfeit honey. Therefore, when buying honey, it will be especially important to recognize it.

Abnormal honey categories

Completely counterfeitIt is the result of a combination of glucose, dextrose, molasses, corn syrup, sugar syrup, reverse sugar, flour, starch or any other similar product other than nectar, collected, processed and stored.

mixed: It is a combination of natural honey with various artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, dyes and essential oils.

Half feedingIn preparing this type, the bee has used both nectar and plant pollen, as well as artificial sweeteners.

Complete nutritionIn this type, the bee has produced the product only using artificial sweeteners.

Counterfeit honey - detection of natural honey - Attar Khan

Inaccurate methods of detecting completely counterfeit honey

How can 100% counterfeit honey be identified without sending samples to food laboratories for expensive testing and analysis? In the following, we will describe some methods in this regard. Of course, you should know that these methods are for counterfeit honey and can not be used to detect natural, nutritional or mixed honey.

  • Thumb test: Put a small amount of honey on your thumb, check if it is spreading like any other liquid, if it is spread, your honey is not valid. Honey should be concentrated and concentrated.
  • Water testPour a spoonful of honey in a glass of water. If honey dissolves easily in water, it is usually counterfeit (this is also true of natural honeys, which are high in moisture). Pure honey has a relatively dense texture that settles to the bottom of a cup or glass.
Method of distinguishing natural honey from counterfeit with water - Attar Khan
  • Vinegar testMix a few drops of honey in vinegar; If the mixture starts to foam, your honey is counterfeit.
  • Heat testTo test the heat, dip the matchstick in honey and light it. If it burns, your honey is the original. (Of course, this experiment has had many debates to confirm and reject it.)

Properties of natural honey

Sugar, rosé, crystallization or crystallization

As a general rule, always remember that most natural honeys usually turn brown or sugary over time.

expiration date

Natural honey has no expiration date; So if it says on the packaging of a honey that it is expiring (for example after two years), you will know that this honey is not natural. Of course, some honeys may have a preferred shelf life, which requires a much longer period of time and indicates a possible loss of organoleptic properties (taste, odor, color, texture, etc.); Something that might happen.

The best and most accurate way to diagnose natural honey

Inaccurate methods of detecting honey have caused much controversy; Because there was usually no exact scientific reason for any of them. Therefore, the best and most accurate (and of course the most expensive) method is to take a sample of honey to a specialized food laboratory to examine the important factors that make honey natural. Perhaps Honey test It may take some time, but by looking at the results, you can see the most accurate details from the honey sample. Of course, it is important to know that there is a possibility of a percentage difference in the test results of a sample of honey in different laboratories; But this difference is often not so great as to call into question the naturalness of honey.

Factors of testing honey in the laboratory and their permissible range

Factor Permitted range according to the national standard of Iran (92 INSO)
Proline At least 180 mg per kilogram
Diastasis activity At least 8
Hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) Maximum 40 mg per kg
Ratio of fructose to glucose At least 0.9
Sucrose Maximum 5%
Percentage of regenerating sugars At least 65 grams percent
pH At least 3/5
Free acidity Maximum 40 milliequivalents per kilogram
Ash (minerals) Maximum 0.6 g percent
Electrical conductivity of honey Maximum 0.8 ms / cm
Insoluble solids in honey Maximum 0.5 for pressed honey and maximum 0.1 for non-pressed honey


In this article, we first discussed the importance of recognizing natural honey and realized that honey cheating is common all over the world! After that, the types of abnormal honeys were introduced and then some simple and home methods of honey detection were mentioned. Although these methods are not applicable to detect natural honey, they can be used to detect some counterfeit honey. In the following, two characteristics of natural honey were mentioned and finally, the best and most accurate method of distinguishing natural honey was stated. If you have any ambiguities or questions, you can ask us at the bottom of this page.