exogenous sugars (3)

10482284266?profile=RESIZE_400xA Peer reviewed papaer of an interlaboratory comparison of a Liquid Chromatography-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (LC-IRMS) method for the determination of 13C/12ratios of saccharides in honey has been published.

This paper is based on a European Comission Joint Research Centre report, which was previosly reported on the Food Authenticity Network: EC Publishes report on the Interlaboratory Comparison of LC-IRMS applied on honey - News - FoodAuthenticity

Stable carbon isotope analysis of sugars in honey by LC–IRMS is a useful tool for detecting adulteration of honey with extraneous sugar.

Syrups that mimic the composition of honey that are produced by chemical and/or enzymatic modification of starch or sucrose are difficult to detect (10). If the starting product is obtained from a C4 plant, such as maize or sugar cane, stable carbon isotope ratio analysis (SCIRA) using a combination of an elemental analyzer (EA) and an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) offers a possibility to detect additions down to a level of 7% (11).

Sugars originating from C3 plants such as beet root or generated from rice or wheat starch escape detection by SCIRA. Combining LC with IRMS (LC–IRMS) offers new possibilities for detecting honey adulteration with sugars derived from C3 plants and increases the sensitivity for detecting C4 sugars (1213).

Addition of 1% C4 sugars and 10% C3 sugars can be reliably detected using the LC–IRMS approach. Another benefit is that, as the method determines the 13C/12ratios of saccharides in honey, it moves away from reliance on external databases.

The method has gained popularity (14–20) but has never been subjected to multilaboratory validation, until now, which is a prerequisite for further developing it into a standard by a standards-developing organization. This peer reviewed publication reports on an interlaboratory comparison of this method. Read open access paper.

This method has now been accepted as a work item for standardisation by Working Group 6 (Stable Isotope Analysis) of CEN Technical Committee 460 (Food Authenticity).

 

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted targeted surveillance between 2019 and 2020 as part of ongoing efforts to detect honey adulteration with exogenous sugars in both domestic and imported honey sold in Canada. A total of 275 samples were collected across Canada and analysed using Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis (SIRA) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Two types of honey samples were collected. One group of 127 samples, consisted of single-ingredient honey products such as bulk and honey for further processing from importers and a small proportion from domestic establishments. These were collected from suppliers where the chance of non-compliance was higher, based on risk-factors such as a history of non-compliance, gaps in preventive controls, or unusual trading patterns. The other 148 samples of honey were collected by an independent third party at retailers in various cities across Canada as part of CFIA's compliance monitoring of the marketplace, to gauge overall compliance. Of the targeted samples 17(13%) were considered unsatisfactory from the analytical results of which only 1 was Canadian honey. Of the retail samples, only 3 were considered unsatisfactory, and all of these were imported. As a result of CFIA's actions, an estimated 83,461 kg of adulterated honey was prevented from being sold in the Canadian marketplace between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

Read the report, which also gives access to the full analytical results

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The Government Chemist, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) held a UK seminar on honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on 13 November 2019, which was attended by 57 people representing stakeholder organisations.

The aim of the seminar was to bring together stakeholders involved in honey production and analysis to discuss this topic and ideally come to an agreed position. It was anticipated that the output of this seminar would help inform future UK government policy on the use of NMR for honey authenticity.

The seminar consisted of a series of presentations from invited experts that set the scene for the workshop part of the day, which involved participants splitting into four representative groups to discuss the suitability of NMR for enforcement purposes and to identify gaps and priorities to assessing the use of NMR for the appraisal of honey authenticity.

The report details the aims and outputs of the seminar.Honey authenticity: determination of exogenous sugars by NMR Seminar Report (PDF, 913KB, 19 pages)

Presentations are also available

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