New test to tell real honey from fake

May 16th, 2009 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, May 16 (IANS) Researchers are developing a simple test that will tell natural honey from the adulterated or impure versions being increasingly foisted on consumers.
Bernard Herbreteau and colleagues point out that the high price of honey and its limited supply has led some beekeepers and food processors to fraudulently make and sell impure honey doped with inexpensive sweeteners, such as corn syrup.

These knock-offs are almost physically and chemically indistinguishable from the real thing. Scientists need a better way to identify adulterated honey, the researchers say.

Herbreteau described a new, highly sensitive test that uses a special type of chromatography to separate and identify complex sugars (polysaccharides) on their characteristic chemical fingerprints.

To test their method, the scientists obtained three different varieties of pure honey from a single beekeeper and then prepared adulterated samples of the honeys by adding one percent corn syrup, said a release of the American Chemical Society.

They showed that the new technique accurately distinguished the impure honey from the pure versions based on differences in their sugar content.

These findings have been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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