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Thread: Honey Testing

  1. #1
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    Default Honey Testing

    I continue to be amazed at the low prices of some honey at the grocery store. Some of it is "USA" and "American produced."

    But the price is so low at the retail level, I can't imagine what the wholesale price would be...or what price the beekeeper received for this honey.

    I suspect some kind of adulteration, but I'm not really in the mood to go on a witch hunt. Still, my curiosity is piqued. I want a level playing field for my hard work and the price I feel my honey deserves as I stand behind the table at the Farmer's Market to assure the customer this is really "pure" honey.

    You'd be surprised how often I'm asked that question: "Is this pure honey?"

    I'm also asked, "Do you have bees?" I just smile and tell them I do.

    So my question is: is there a process, a test, or some lab that can analyze honey to detect if it is adulterated with HFCS or sucrose? Or can I have my honey tested to demonstrate the purity of my honey?

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.maxhoney.homestead.com
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  2. #2
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    104

    Default Re: Honey Testing

    The honey you see in the grocery store labeled as USDA grade a or whatever only contains a percentage of usa honey. It is blended with import honey. I believe it can be as low as 10% usa honey and can still be called usa honey. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. There was a big push during the Bush administration about a "truth in labeling" bill. I'm not sure whatever happened to it. I quit keeping up once the market crashed. It's all about educating your consumer. I believe, when given the facts, the consumer will choose real honey every time at least the consumer I'm marketing to anyways.

    Good luck,

    Will

  3. #3
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    owensboro,ky
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    i recently read an article that said in more technical words than i like that HFCS or sucrose could be positively identified, but RICE SUGAR, what one would expect asian honey to be adulterated with, COULD NOT BE POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED. bummer.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    I'm dimly recalling something about testing for C4 vs. C3 sugars, the C4's would not normally be present in honey, and would indicate corn syrup or sugar adulteration, even if the bees had processed and stored it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    HMF is present in heated honey and hfcs. I believe it is monitored in EU as a possible detection method of adulterated honey.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2010
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    Rome NY USA
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    I agree, people under value there honey products so much sometimes I don't think its worth it. If all of us would stay with a standerd price we would be better off. I tell other keepers I sell one pounders for five bucks two pounders for 10, and 5pounder for twenty and they call me a thief. I don't see anything wrong with makeing a profit for our hard work !! but it s hard to compete with two $ a pound!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Happy, where is there 100% U.S. produced pure honey at $2/lb. retail?

  8. #8
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    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    I assume Happy is not talking about Retail... 2 dollars a pound would be pretty nice for bulk honey around here. That one bottle at a time stuff will wear on you.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    But the price is so low at the retail level, I can't imagine what the wholesale price would be...or what price the beekeeper received for this honey.
    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.maxhoney.homestead.com
    You're right. No one can imagine what the wholesale price is in relation to the shelf price. They may have nothing to do w/ each other. Ever heard of "loss leader"?

    Have you ever kept chickens and sold eggs? The grocery price is less than what it costs you or I to produce them.

    And how about the term "mark up". A 25% mark up isn't the wholesale price plus 25% of the wholesale price. It's the retail price minus 25% to get to the wholesale price.

    Which has little to do w/ adulteration I guess.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  10. #10

    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Its all marketing and media hype from increased awareness of ccd. Honeybee issues have been in the spotlight much more than usual lately, along with that comes "honey talk" leading to increased demand, then due to low supply, an inferior product.

    I was in a farmers market a few weeks back and spied a honey setup in the back. They had blueberry honey (that was blue), strawberry honey (that was red) orange honey, (that was orange) you get the picture. I cant remember which variety was honey colored, probably their clover or something, there was a green honey too, can't remember, maybe mint.

    Anyways, after seeing this it just reinforced my resolve to keep my prices high. 7 wholesale and 10 a pound retail, no less, our stuff is a superior product, not a hodgepodge of who knows what from who knows where.

    You've seen the stories about how much honey gets turned away at US ports only to be shipped out to another port and then, with the right grease, it slips through and winds up on that farmers market shelves.

    Florida has legislature pending on honey standards from what I' heard but what do I care and why should you? You know the "true" quality of your product and your competitors quality, and it aint even close. Prooving it is another story but if they are putting paint in counterfit perscriptions being hocked from the east... think about what they can do with honey, common sence, think about it for just a millisecond.

    Bottom line, who cares about testing honey and honey standards, all my customers know what they are getting, a very high grade, as pure as it can be product. I am already sold out at 7 to 10 a pound, educating your customers and holding out is key, go ahead, try to find something better I tell them.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Maybe if beekeepers stopped casting doubt as to the quality of chain store honey, customers wouldn't ask if it's 'pure honey'. Beekeepers insist on telling customers that their honey is pure, not like that garbage sold in stores. Using fear and deceit as a marketing tool seems pretty pathetic to me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Honey Testing

    I think the only thing that could be more pathetic than that is a peson or company motivated by nothing more than profit and at the expense of the uneducated customer, be it honey or exercise machines. If purchasers would educate themselves instead of counting on hearsay, perhaps this conversation would have never materialized.

    I know what I saw in that farmers market that trades on "locally grown", proof enough for me in that instance and I am sure there are plenty more to follow. Its all about the buck, such a sad state of affairs of late, all the way around, not just honey.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    People don't educate themselves on their food purchases. Do you know anyone that 'educates themselves' on the loaf of bread, hamburger or can of soup they purchase?
    The only thing the general public knows about honey is what beekeepers tell them. and we tell them that the industry is corrupt with adulterated honey. If the price is low, must be adulterated. If it's foreign honey, must be adulterated. Not based on any facts of course, just used as a tool to sell our own honey.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Instead of telling our honey customers that all the honey on the store shelves is phoney and contaminated sugar syrup, I think we should encourage honey customers to seek out the small time local beekeeper to purchase honey from. That way at least you are improving your chances substantially of getting a quality product.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456 View Post
    People don't educate themselves on their food purchases. Do you know anyone that 'educates themselves' on the loaf of bread, hamburger or can of soup they purchase?
    The only thing the general public knows about honey is what beekeepers tell them. and we tell them that the industry is corrupt with adulterated honey. If the price is low, must be adulterated. If it's foreign honey, must be adulterated. Not based on any facts of course, just used as a tool to sell our own honey.
    If you use such statements, especially unfounded as you say they are, you may be in for a law suit. And you bring to the customers mind that your honey and all honey may be adulterated. How are they to tell? Just because you say so? I think you should promote the purity and quality of your own honey and say nothing about other honey, unless asked and then say I don't really know I've wondered that myself.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  16. #16

    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Any fool knows that most of what we eat, drink, wear, drive, smoke, bathe in, see, feel, touch, taste, hear, rub in our belly button is contaminated, can you say "industrial revolution" and then the words "the begenning " in the same sentence? We have enjoyed a very nice pollution dillution period over the past 100 years, stocks, resources and purity continue to dwindle on all levels. Add money motivated greed in and it becomes a mute point on any front.

    Anyone that doesn't know as common knowledge, that our food stock, the stuff most people purchase in the grocery store is contaminated with something, must of been raised in a closet and had their contaminated meals slipped under the door. It doesn't take much more than scratching 2 brain cells together to figure out the envrionment we live in is screwed beyond repair and justifying this quagmire of mediocrity and its exponential advancement is the all mighty buck, make more for less, demand verses supply.

    The only way to know what you are getting is to grow or make it yourself but that's stilll not a guarantee, gmo's, etc. We have to do the best we can with what we have to work with and know the basic's mentioned above are record of fact.

    I know my honey isn't pure, I never said it was. It is only as high a quality as our trashed envrionment will allow it to be, but I do know that it hasn't been cut for the buck. I believe most commercial producers are honest people but who knows what happens after it leaves out hands.

    Heres another interesting tid bit. Out of 400 some ports around the good ole USA, less than half have USDA inspectors on site. Out of those, only about 4 percent of what passes through those ports is ever inspected, like the Fed can or will make any difference, too much greed and ego in that organization to function properly. Like I said, you don't have to be a Nobel Piece Prize Winner here, Just Saying...

    Wonder what would happen if they stopped importing "honey" all together?

    http://honesthoney.com/newsroom/recent-news.asp

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    If you use such statements, especially unfounded as you say they are, you may be in for a law suit. And you bring to the customers mind that your honey and all honey may be adulterated. How are they to tell? Just because you say so? I think you should promote the purity and quality of your own honey and say nothing about other honey, unless asked and then say I don't really know I've wondered that myself.
    It was sarcasm squcrk. Although you're contradicting yourself. In another thread you advised someone on what they should charge for honey and said to tell his customers that it's better than the other guys.

    Personally, I tell customers that if they buy honey in a 200 mile radius from me, the honey will be identical. Ya know, same forage, their bees make honey the same way. They seem to appreciate the honesty.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    I can see how you would come to that conclusion. "My honey is a higher price because it is better." That's taking pride in ones own honey. It's better because I produced it.

    On the other hand you said that you told your customers that someone elses honey was adulterated, when you have no evidence. (if you were being sarcastic you should have made that obvious. subtulty doesn't come across in print.) So, you planted in your customers mind that honey is adulterated. So then they are apt to also wonder if your honey is adulterated.

    I try not to say anything bad about someone elses work or product, especially if I do what they do. It is not productive. BUT, if the customer brings it up and I have real knowledge, I may or may not share that knowledge depending on cIrcumstances. I hope that's not too hard to understand.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  19. #19
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    'Your honey is better', so you've sampled everyone else's honey? My guess is you haven't.

    As for what I tell customers, read the thread from the beginning
    Last edited by Barry; 06-08-2010 at 10:18 PM. Reason: quoting

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Honey Testing

    People don't educate themselves on their food purchases.

    SOME people don't educate themselves on their food purchases. You'll likely find them eating at McDonald's.

    Some people DO educate themselves on their food purchases. Why do you think 'organically produced' stuff fetches a premium price? Why are heirloom vegetables exploding in popularity? Why are so many people learning how to garden?

    Do you know anyone that 'educates themselves' on the loaf of bread, hamburger or can of soup they purchase?

    I know MANY people who educate themselves on the food they eat. Some even bake their own bread with grain they ground. Others buy their free range eggs at a local Amish house.

    I find that the more people educate themselves on their food, the more they start trying to get their food closer to the producer. (or they produce it themselves)

    The people who do choose to educate themselves on their food are often willing to spend a premium if they know where that food came from. Anyone who thinks people don't educate themselves on food purchases is missing out on a golden opportunity to capitalize on that exploding and lucrative market.

    Personally, I tell customers that if they buy honey in a 200 mile radius from me, the honey will be identical. Ya know, same forage, their bees make honey the same way. They seem to appreciate the honesty.

    That statement here would be totally dishonest. Bee forage changes way too much in 200 miles around here. Heck, 10 miles northwest of me, is flat farmlands with sparse trees. 10 miles southeast of me is heavily wooded Appalachian foothills. I am on the terminal moraine of the Illionoian glacier. The plant differences are very significant.

    I have people who want to buy local honey from me because of pollen allergies. They want honey made from local plants. 200 miles away is honey that came from a different state, with a completely different bee forage.

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