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Real Honey vs Fake Honey: Simple Detection Methods to check honey’s purity

Honey is a natural, sweet and viscous food product, prepared by the honey bees in their “honey stomachs”, by sucking the nectar from the flowering parts of the plant.

It mainly consists of sugar and water contents, but also comprise of amino acids, carotenoids, enzymes, organic acids, minerals, vitamins and aromatic substances.

The color, flavor, aroma and composition of each honey depends upon several factors including flower types, climatic conditions, geographical regions and the species of the honeybee involved.

Apart from it, it varies by the extraction methods, its processing, packaging and storage time as well.

Honey is quite famous food product, which is consumed by millions of people around the globe for several purposes, with especial reference to its therapeutic potential.

Its importance and limited availability has ledto its adulteration by the culprits, to get maximum profit.

It is being adulterated by the addition of commercially available cheap sugars including glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar and also by starch and flour to have the same sensorial properties identical to the original honey, thus cheating the end-users.

These cheap materials demolish the natural defense shield of the pure honey provided by it to the consumer, which help them to maintain a healthy life style.

Consequently, the individuals get attacked by various diseases indirectly, by the longer use of such impure products, so these adulteration practices should be detected in time for their strict prevention, which is crucial for the safety of the customers.

Keeping in view the above mentioned crucial facts, there are numerous simple practices quite beneficial for the users, which could be done at domestic level, in order to distinguish between the pure and fake honey.

These are as follows:


Pure Honey: It’s quite thick and viscous material, which takes time to move from one side of the container to the other.

Fake Honey: It’s not so dense, quite light, takes less time to flow around owing to the presence of high moisture content.


Pure Honey:It does not show the signs of stickiness, when rubbed between the fingers.

Fake Honey:It feels bit sticky, due to the addition of extra sugars in it.


Pure Honey:Its gives the aroma of the flowers or plants from where it is being collected by the bees.

Fake Honey:There is no particular smell in it, apart from industrial or sour aroma.


Pure Honey:Its taste vanishes in a matter of minutes, after being ingested.

Fake Honey:Its taste remains on the taste buds of the tongue for the longer period of time because of added sugars and sweeteners.

5. Flame Test

Pure Honey:A piece of cotton dipped in the natural honey will catch fire quite easily

Fake Honey:A cotton piece immersed in fake honey will fail to ignite due to the presence of extra moisture.


Pure Honey:Pure honey does not produce foam and caramelizes quickly upon heating.

Fake Honey: Impure or fake honey forms the foam and bubbles, when heated, owing to added sugars and moisture.


Pure Honey:It makes the slice of the bread “stiff”, after few minutes of its application.

Fake Honey:It makes the bread surface moisturize upon application because of additives.


Pure Honey: Put one drop of the honey on the nail of your thumb. If it remains intact at one point, then it’s a pure honey.

Fake Honey: If after putting a drop on the nail of thumb, it spreads, then it’s a fake honey. Spreading is owing to the high moisture content in it.

9. Dissolving Method

Pure Honey:  Pure honey settles to the bottom when added in water, remain in-tact and does not disintegrate.

Fake Honey: While it dissolves and disintegrates very quickly, when added and mixed in the water.


Pure Honey: Pure honey does not leave stains on the white piece of cloth when poured on it.

Fake Honey: Impure honey leaves the stains, when poured on the white piece of cloth.


Pure Honey:Pure honey carries pollens, bee body partsand also dirty-looking particles.

Fake Honey:It’s free from all the impurities and looks very transparent.

All these tests give a generalized perception to the consumers regarding the purity of the honey.

On the other hand, scientists also have devised complex and high-tech methods to determine the purity level of honey, with great precision.

These methods include Gas Chromatography (GC), Liquid Chromatography (LC),High-Performance Anion-Exchange Chromatography with Pulsed Amperometric Detection (HPAEC-PAD), Fourier Transform (FT) Raman spectroscopy and Microscopic detection, Protein characterization, Near Infrared Transflectance (NIR) spectroscopy, Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (HPLCIRMS), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy with Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR), Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis (SCIRA) and Calorimetric methods (Application of DSC).

All these methods provide vital and accurate information regarding every aspect of honey authenticity.

The tests results of these methods are mandatory for the honey exporters, if they want to export it to the foreign countries.

Keeping in view the above mentioned facts, one can make sure the supply of safe and healthy honey to the one’s family members.

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