Unique Antibacterial Activity Testing
The UMF Honey Association has entered a programme of standardising the testing for the Non-Peroxide Activity of this unique honey in all the territories in which it is sold.
This programme is a significant shift in giving the distributor and consumer absolute confidence in that they are able to verify product. This verification not only includes not only true to label claims but all other quality standards that underpin the quality trademark. These include HMF1, adulteration... This programme is aimed to give true international recognition behind the quality trademark UMF®.
NZ Labs and Testing methods
1Definition of HMF (HydroxyMethylFurfuraldehyde) i
- Can be used as an indicator of heat and storage changes in honey or adulteration through addition of the chemical marker Methylglyoxal.
- HMF is formed by the breakdown of fructose in the presence of an acid.
- Heat increases the speed of this reaction.
- The increase in speed is exponential with increasing heat.
- HMF occurs naturally in most honeys and usually increases with the age and heat treatment of honey.
- HMF's occurrence and accumulation in honey is variable depending on honey type.
HMF is used as an indicator of heating or storage at elevated temperatures, it was first used (as early as 1908) as an indicator of the adulteration of honey with invert syrups (syrups of glucose and fructose). Cane sugar (sucrose) is "inverted" by heating with a food acid, and this process creates HMF. However it was quickly realized that heated natural honey also had higher levels of HMF and therefore the interest switched from being an indicator of adulteration, to that of an indicator of heating and storage changes. It should be noted however that high levels of HMF (greater than 100 mg/kg) can still be an indicator of adulteration with inverted sugars.
Please noted that HMF is not a harmful substance in levels found in food. Many sugar type products (e.g. Jams, Golden Syrup, Molasses etc.) have levels of HMF that are 10-100 times that of honey. Many food items sweetened with high fructose corn syrups, e.g. carbonated soft drinks, can have levels of HMF between 100 and 1,000 mg/kg.
Fresh natural honey can have varying levels of HMF. Normally this is below 1 mg/kg but levels soon start to rise with ambient temperatures above 20°C. It should be noted that temperatures in the beehive can rise to over 40°C during summer months (when the main honey crop is in progress). It is usual for HMF to be below 10 mg/kg in fresh extracted honey. Levels higher than this may indicate excessive heating during the extraction process.
Many countries impose maximum levels for HMF. 40 mg/kg is the maximum level permissible in the EU for table honey. Please click on this link to see the Codex alimentarius Standard for Honey s HMF:
Codex Alimentarius standard for honey 12 1981
"1.3 HYDROXYMETHYLFURFURAL CONTENT
The hydroxymethylfurfural content of honey after processing and/or blending shall not be more than 40 mg/kg. However, in the case of honey of declared origin from countries or regions with tropical ambient temperatures, and blends of these honeys, the HMF content shall not be more than 80 mg/kg."