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Honey Authenticity

Honey Authenticity

honey, manuka honey, testing, analytical services

Honey sales have been soaring for the past few years, worth as much as £109.8m in 2015 according to a report by The Grocer. There has been much time and money invested in promoting honey's "versatility", and now a vast array of honey from around the world is available, designed to be added to everything from marinades to stir-fries, as well as an alternative to sugar in cooking or as a natural health remedy.

Fera offers a range of analytical services to the honey industry to support legitimate labelling claims and help protect the consumer from food threats or fraud.

Manuka Honey Authenticity Testing

Fera offers chemical and microbiological analysis - including the new Leptosperin Manuka specific marker test - to confirm the authenticity of honey labelled as 'Manuka'. All analyses are fully validated and performed to current industry standards. Fera is the only laboratory in UK to be the preferred partner by the UMF® Honey Association as an official testing laboratory for independently verifying the UMF® rating of Manuka honey.

Chemical Tests

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO) - a naturally occurring chemical present in New Zealand Manuka honey. The concentration of MGO is closely related to the non-peroxide activity (NPA) which is a unique characteristic associated with Manuka honey

  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) - present in New Zealand Manuka honey and detected in the nectar of Manuka flowers. DHA converts to MGO during the honey production process. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries guidelines for Manuka honey, both DHA and MGO should be present in products characterised as New Zealand Manuka-type honey

  • Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) - levels are often used as a honey quality indicator as concentrations increase under excessive heat and storage times. HMF is particularly relevant to Manuka honey as the conversion of DHA to MGO is accelerated under high temperature. According to codex standards for honey the HMF content, after processing, shall not be more than 40 mg/kg or 80 mg/kg in regions with tropical ambient temperatures

  • Leptosperin - Leptosperin concentration is stable over time, and therefore measuring its concentration in honey is a good way of identifying whether the honey comes from Manuka nectar. This dictates whether it can be labelled as Manuka, Manuka blend, or as a multi-floral honey. Fera is the only laboratory in UK to be the preferred partner by the UMF® Honey Association as an official testing laboratory for independently verifying the UMF® rating of Manuka honey.

  • Test

    Method

    Turnaround

    MGO UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    DHA UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    HMF UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    Leptosperin UPLC-UV-FLD 10 working days
    Triple Test (MGO, DHA, and HMF) UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    Quad Test (MGO, DHA, HMF, and Leptosperin) UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days

Microbiological Tests

  • Phenol equivalence testing of non-peroxide (NPA) - Manuka honey contains a unique and vital ingredient called methylglyoxal (MGO) which is responsible for the honey's Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). This is only found in authentic Manuka honey and is an indicator of its antibacterial properties to confirm that products are true to label rating.
  • Total activity (TA) - this is a 'true to label' test

  • Test

    Type

    Turnaround

    NPA Microbiological 15 working days - 5 Day Express Service is available*
    TA Microbiological 15 working days - 5 Day Express Service is available*
    Combined Test (NPA and TA) Microbiological 15 working days- 5 Day Express Service is available*

* a surcharge is applicable, please ask for details



Manuka Honey in Media

news,the times, the australian, the grocer

Additional Honey Testing Services

In addition to Manuka Authenticity, Fera also offers other analytical testing services for all types of honey, listed below;

  • Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) Analysis - Analysis of HMF content to detect if honey has undergone excessive heat-treatment during processing or adulteration. Levels are often used as a honey quality indicator as concentrations increase under excessive heat and storage times. According to codex standards for honey the HMF content, after processing, shall not be more than 40 mg/kg or 80 mg/kg in regions with tropical ambient temperatures.

  • Sugar Addition Analysis - Honey is susceptible to adulteration with cheaper sweeteners; those that have been detected in adulterated honeys include sugar syrups and molasses inverted by acids or enzymes from corn, sugar cane, sugar beet and syrups of natural origin such as maple. Adulteration of pure honey with synthetic honey has become much more prevalent in recent years.

  • Moisture in Honey Test - The water content of honey (water-in-honey) is the quality aspect that determines the ability of honey to remain fresh and to avoid spoilage by yeast fermentation. Raw honey can have a water-in-honey content of less than 14% and the lower the water content the higher the perceived value of the honey. It is internationally recognized that good quality honey should be processed at less than 20% water content.

  • Veterinary Medicines and Pesticide Residue Analysis - As the National Reference Laboratory for Veterinary Medicine Residues and Pesticide Residues, Fera conducts the UK Statutory Surveillance program on honey, and is therefore ideally placed to assist with any residue analysis of honey.

  • Verification of Geographical Origin - Isotope ratio analysis to assess that honey is from its stated country or region of origin.

Consultancy

If you have questions about honey product development, market acceptance, or the regulatory environment; sometimes it requires another experienced person or team to help pull things together and move them ahead. Fera's consultancy service is made up of senior scientists who have broad and deep experience in the honey industry that we can bring to bear on your research project which goes beyond analysis and scientific expertise.

Contact Us

To speak with us about this services, or for any other services, please contact the Customer Service Group on +44 (0)300 100 0323 or e-mail us.