Fake Honey on the Market: How to Spot the Difference

According to Food Safety News, around 76% of all honey that you can buy in grocery stores is fake. By fake we mean ultra-filtrated, which means that it underwent a filtration process in order to expel all the impurities. But this process doesn’t get rid only of the bad, but the good as well. When honey is ‘purified’, it loses pollen and other healthy ingredients that are contained in real raw honey. This process of ultra-filtration is expensive and it rids the honey of what makes it so healthy and beneficial. So why do it? FSN argues that geographic origin of honey can be determined by examining its pollen, but when the pollen has already been ‘cleaned out’ there is no real chance to figure out where the honey came from. When the honey can’t be identified, it cannot be said to be safe for sure, according to Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University. Usually, ultra-filtration is used to mask the origin, because most of the honey sold in the U.S. comes from China, where it often gets contaminated with illegal antibiotics. Then, they ‘purify’ it, send it out to the U.S. where it is sold to the wide masses such as it is – stripped of its healthy properties, being a shady copy of real honey.

Even though the honey you are looking to buy in your local store looks real and good, you can rarely be sure about its authenticity.  But if you want to have real honey, there is a way to get some, and make sure you are not buying a processed product.

As in the United States the purity of honey is not tested and trace amounts of antibiotics are allowed, you can’t really be sure that, if the honey you are looking at has a USDA logo, it is pure and unadulterated.

Buy first hand from small honey producers.

On the other hand, people who have their own bees and honey will rarely make changes to the product. This means that you can go to them, buy honey and be sure that you are getting the real thing and the honey hasn’t been altered. There you can buy a pure product that human hand hasn’t spoilt.

Another pure and natural honey that will surely be good for you is the Manuka honey from New Zealand, which has been approved by the FDA as a very healthy type of honey that can even treat wounds.

To ensure you are buying pure honey, you can buy it in the comb, there is no faking that.

Spotting the difference between real and fake honey proves to be very difficult.

But when it comes to being able to tell if the honey is real based on how it looks – that is a little difficult. Fake honeys can look identically as real ones, so you can’t tell which is which just by looking at it. Moreover, many honeys that have gone through the process of ultra-filtration are labeled as ‘pure honey’, and this is not punishable by law as in America there isn’t a law to regulate this. Also, the price doesn’t determine the quality of honey, so if you are standing in a store thinking that if you buy a more expensive honey – the chance of it being authentic would be better – think twice.

When you buy honey, there are some ways you can test its purity in a home environment.

These tests don’t need to be completely accurate, but they can give you a good idea about whether the honey you have is real. For instance, pour some liquid honey into a glass of water and watch how it comes down. If the honey is pure, it will not dissolve right away, but stay relatively firm. On the other hand, if it has been adulterated, or it contains sugar, it will dissolve easily and quickly once it enters the water. However, if the honey will dissolve or not can depend on how it was processed (if it was), and sometimes even fake honey has the ability to dissolve more slowly.

There are more home tests to verify the purity of honey, but none of them are completely accurate. The best way to make sure the honey you are buying is natural is to avoid buying it in a grocery store and go to the first hand sellers who have bees and only pack the honey without making any changes to it.