Honey counterfeiting: Identifying real honey is not easy
Real honey is a purely natural product that is produced by bees. The beekeeper gets it from the honeycomb and is not allowed to remove or add anything to it. This is how the honey regulation regulates in this country. In many cases, however, honey that is sold does not comply with these regulations.
- After all, almost 40 percent of the alleged bee products sold worldwide are not real honey or are at least partially incorrectly declared, which is criticized by experts.
- So it happens that other cheap sugars, such as invert sugar syrup, are added to honey. Laboratories are now tracking down such illegal mixtures using pre-created honey profiles that are as unique as fingerprints. So-called isotope analyzes can also help.
- With regard to the origin and type of honey (e.g. linden blossom honey), incorrect declarations are repeatedly discovered in investigations. Here, the laborious analysis and the search for species-typical pollen in the honey are required in the laboratory.
- In a test, Stiftung Warentest also criticized the fact that many jars of honey were apparently of poor quality.
- The warming of the honey can often play a role. Drying processes could also be the cause, for example, adjusting the water content of unripe honey harvested too early – processes that are apparently used more frequently in countries such as China, Thailand, and Russia.
What consumers can do for real honey
It appears as a kind of arms race among honey counterfeiters and food analyses: If a new method is developed to be able to unmask fake honey in the laboratory, the producers of the liquid sweet spreads change their recipes or manufacturing processes. As a consumer, however, you also have the opportunity to oppose counterfeit honey. Pay attention to the following:
- Buy preferably regionally, preferably directly from the producer. Find out here whether the honey actually comes from our own production or whether it was purchased.
- Read the designation of origin. If it says that the honey or part of the mixture comes from non-EU countries, you should exercise extra caution.
- A commonly recommended test that can provide possible indications of stretching: Put a teaspoonful of honey in a glass of water. Leave this and observe after a while: If the honey has dissolved in the water, this is usually a good sign. If it doesn’t come off, it may be fake honey.