TEST RE­SULTS

Consumer Voice - - Comparative Test -

FOR PHYSICOCHEMICAL PA­RAM­E­TERS Fruc­tose–glu­cose ra­tio | Hy­drox­ymethyl­fur­fural | To­tal re­duc­ing sugar | Su­crose | Fiehe’s test | En­ergy value | Mois­ture | Di­as­tase ac­tiv­ity | Ash | Acid­ity | Spe­cific grav­ity at 27 de­grees Cel­sius | Wa­ter-insoluble mat­ter | Op­ti­cal den­sity

Fruc­tose–glu­cose ra­tio, % by mass

Re­quire­ment: If Fiehe's test is pos­i­tive and hy­drox­ymethyl­fur­fural (HMF) con­tent is more than 80 mil­ligrams/kilo­gram, then fruc­tose-to-glu­cose ra­tio should be 0.95 min­i­mum as per FSS Rules and more than 1.0 as per In­dian Stan­dard.

Fruc­tose/glu­cose ra­tio in­di­cates the abil­ity of honey to crys­tal­lize. When the fruc­tose/glu­cose ra­tio is high, honey re­mains liq­uid.

How­ever, be­cause honey con­tains oth­ers sug­ars (su­crose, mal­tose, etc.) and insoluble sub­stances (dex­trin, col­loids, etc.) that can in­flu­ence the crys­tal­liza­tion process, the glu­cose/wa­ter (G/W) ra­tio is con­sid­ered more ap­pro­pri­ate than the fruc­tose/ glu­cose(F/G) ra­tio for the pre­dic­tion of honey crys­tal­liza­tion. Even though honey has less glu­cose than fruc­tose, it is the glu­cose that crys­tal­lizes when honey gran­u­lates be­cause it is less sol­u­ble in wa­ter than fruc­tose. All the brands meet the min­i­mum re­quire­ment man­dated by FSSAI. The high­est ra­tio is in Khadi fol­lowed by Or­gan­ica, Dabur and Patan­jali.

Hy­drox­ymethyl­fur­fural

Hy­drox­ymethyl­fur­fural, or HMF, is of­ten used as an in­di­ca­tor for the qual­ity of honey. It oc­curs nat­u­rally in most hon­eys; how­ever, high lev­els of HMF may be the re­sult of in­ad­e­quate stor­age, adul­ter­ation with sugar ad­di­tives, or se­vere heat treat­ment. Although HMF is not thought to be a harm­ful sub­stance, food stan­dards in many coun­tries reg­u­late the lev­els of HMF in honey be­cause it in­di­cates the fresh­ness of honey.

Dabur achieved full score on this pa­ram­e­ter. Hitkary, Jee­van Am­rit and Or­gan­ica had high HMF and did not meet the qual­ity re­quire­ment limit of 80 mg/kg.

To­tal re­duc­ing sugar

Re­quire­ment: 65% min­i­mum as per FSSAI, 70% min­i­mum (spe­cial)/65% min­i­mum (Grade A) as per Ag­mark and In­dian Stan­dard

Re­duc­ing sug­ars are ca­pa­ble of re­duc­ing other com­pounds. The most com­mon re­duc­ing sug­ars are glu­cose and fruc­tose.

To­tal re­duc­ing sugar in Fresh & Pure, Hitkary, Khadi, Re­liance and Easy Maxx was found to be less than the re­quired min­i­mum per­cent­age. Dabur per­formed on top fol­lowed by Patan­jali.

Su­crose

A key con­cern about honey qual­ity is pos­si­ble adul­ter­ation with su­crose (just like honey can be adul­ter­ated with ta­ble sugar, etc.). While su­crose is gen­er­ally present in small quan­ti­ties in honey, a high per­cent­age can point to­wards de­lib­er­ate adul­ter­ation. The Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards (BIS) and the Food Safety and Stan­dards Author­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) have spec­i­fied that su­crose con­tent in honey should not be more than five per cent by mass. Patan­jali per­formed on top fol­lowed by Fresh & Pure, Easy Maxx and Dabur.

Fiehe’s test

Re­quire­ment: Should be neg­a­tive

Fiehe’s test checks if com­mer­cial in­vert sugar has been added to honey for adul­ter­ation. As per In­dian Stan­dard re­quire­ment, if Fiehe’s test is pos­i­tive and hy­drox­ymethyl­fur­fural con­tent is more than 80 mil­ligrams/kilo­gram, then fruc­tose-to-glu­cose ra­tio should be 1.0 or more. Hitkary, Jee­van Am­rit and Or­gan­ica were found pos­i­tive in this test. Testing pos­i­tive in Fiehe’s test also in­di­cates that the honey is ‘over-ma­ture’. When honey is heated for longer du­ra­tion, it be­comes sus­cep­ti­ble to testing pos­i­tive in Fiehe’s test. Honey is heated to kill any yeast that may spoil it. How­ever, it is be­lieved that there is a real dan­ger of honey los­ing its ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties and ac­tu­ally be­com­ing harm­ful for con­sump­tion if it is over-heated.

En­ergy value, kcal/100g

Honey con­trib­utes a good amount of en­ergy to­wards our daily re­quire­ment.

All the brands per­formed well on this pa­ram­e­ter.

Mois­ture

Higher mois­ture con­tent can lead to un­de­sir­able fer­men­ta­tion of the honey dur­ing stor­age. The ac­tion of os­mo­tol­er­ant yeasts can re­sult in the for­ma­tion of ethyl al­co­hol and car­bon diox­ide.

Both FSSAI and Ag­mark have set the per­mis­si­ble limit for mois­ture at 25 per cent. BIS pre­scribes that the best-qual­ity honey (Spe­cial grade) should not have more than 20 per cent mois­ture in it. Mois­ture con­tent for Grade A honey is a max­i­mum 22 per cent by mass. All the tested brands had less than 20 per cent mois­ture con­tent. Khadi had the least per­cent­age at 14.98.

Di­as­tase ac­tiv­ity

Di­as­tase ac­tiv­ity helps to de­ter­mine if the honey has been ex­ten­sively heated dur­ing pro­cess­ing. Heat­ing of honey causes the loss of ther­mo­la­bile, aro­matic sub­stances.

All the brands passed in this test. All the brands are within the spec­i­fied limit on the pa­ram­e­ters of ash, acid­ity, spe­cific grav­ity (at 27 de­grees Cel­sius), wa­ter-insoluble mat­ter, and op­ti­cal den­sity.

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