Re: Honey Testing
I'll take the customers that eat at McDonalds, and you can have the customers that make their own bread from grain that they've ground.
Re: Honey Testing
"Economic Motivated Adulteration"
A low cost syrup is added to the honey (as much as 25%-75%) of the syrup is added to the honey. When dealing with 1000's of pounds of honey this can add up to big dollars for an unscrupulous distributor considering the price of most of these syrups is less then 1/3 the price of pure honey.
Speaking with a distributor that handles millions of pounds of honey, you can really not taste the difference. Typical syrups added; cane, inverted beet, corn, rice and or tapioca. The syrups have extremely close sugar profiles to honey and are extremely difficult to detect. And no, there is no simple candle test, dissolve test or pour test that will indicate this. It takes very sophisticated analytical testing techniques to identify if honey has been adulterated.
There are obvious problems with adulteration;
- The honest distributor can not compete even at low margins against products that are not pure but are labeled as such
- Food companyies that use honey in their products are inadvertently breaking the law as they are not labeling the product as containing these syrups
- The consumer does not know what they are ingesting which they have a right to
The real cure to this problem is for distributors and large food companies to start testing the products they handle. It would be useful for the FDA or USDA to also do spot checking to catch the bad guys (I am not talking about checking the small honey producer that sells their jars of honey at a farmer's market but rather the large distributors that sell to large food companies or other distributors or test the honey at food companies themselves)
As mentioned above, testing for adulteration was not easy in the past and required very sophisticated equipment and chemists to operate this equipment. Recently Polarmetrics Corp. has just released an instrument that can determine the amount and type of adulteration in honey. This instrument only requires a drop of sample, takes about 5 minutes to produce a result and literally anyone can be taught how to use the instrument in a matter of minutes. From a cost standpoint this instrument is less expensive then most laboratory instruments and does not require a chemist.
If distributors and large food companies to not start testing for purity then the I am afraid the honey market is doomed to be infiltrated by these adulteration syrups. "These companies are either part of the solution or part of the problem." Claiming ignorance that the product was labeled as pure is not a solution and only encourages the practice.
While Polarmetrics Corp. was developing the calibration for the instrument it was found that 30% of samples that were thought to be pure honey were not.
It is important to note that many times honey is distributed in bulk and mixed with others sources of honey (or thought to be pure honey) One batch of adulterated honey can easily contaminate a large amount of honey.
So what can the local honey producer do to protect their industry? Put pressure on distributors, large food companies and large retail stores to start testing their honey for purity (so they can properly and legally label it correctly) There is also no reason that state or federal organizations can not easily test honey now on a routine basis. Local, state and federal Honey Councils should also lobby for this testing.
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