manuka honey (3)


Assurance that honey has not been adulterated with sugars of C4 origin (e.g. high fructose corn syrup or invert cane sugar) is carried out by the internationally recognised AOAC 998.12 C4 sugar adulteration test. In the past decade, there have been concerns around the applicability of this test to mānuka honey due to honey with a high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO, >250 mg/kg) often failing the test.  It is this same high MGO content that makes manuka honey such a premium product. This paper reviews the literature to determine possible causes for this failure and identifies more suitable methods of analysis that can be applied to detect syrup addition to manuka honey.

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Research by the Dutch Consumers' Association (Consumentenbond) shows that three years after the horse meat affair are still many problems with the authenticity of foodstuffs. The Consumentenbond investigated over 150 sensitive products, and 21% of them were not how they were described. The samples were analysed using the most up to date methods.

The study found problems with the following percentage of samples taken: manuka honey (50% ), lamb (47%), extra virgin olive oil (31% ), oregano (11% ) and cod (3%). 

In the lamb products study, 10 lamb curries, 10 servings of minced lamb and 10 lamb shawarma or kebabs were purchased. 14 of the 30 lamb samples  turned out not to be pure lamb. In 6 samples, there was no lamb found at all, only beef or turkey instead. In 8 other samples there was some lamb, but also at least 40% of other meat.

The report in Dutch can be found at:

A summary of the article in English can be found at:

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