American foulbrood testing: what options do you have?

American foulbrood (AFB) is a bacterial infection that affects honey bees and has disastrous effects on a colony’s health. The disease is caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, which produces spores that can survive for over 35 years in beehives and beekeeping equipment. The spores are able to survive in a wide range of disinfectant solutions and temperatures so the advised way to destroy the bacteria is to burn the affected equipment/honey.
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AOAC C4 Sugar Tests: The Final Frontier?

Recent honey adulteration scandals in Australia around addition of C3 rice and beet syrups used to stretch honey yields remind us that the honey industry is only as good as its lowest common denominator. If we play the game well, we all win. If some of us go ‘rogue’, then the entire industry will suffer. It only takes a few rotten apples.
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DHA and MGO: The Most Common Testing in Manuka Honey

The single most common lab test requested for mānuka honey is the ‘3-in-1’ test, which measures concentrations of DHA, MGO, and HMF in honey. This article provides a brief history of testing the grade of mānuka honey. It describes how DHA and MGO test results change over time, and how they are used to help with grading and valuing of honey.
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When is honey really honey?

Honey is one of the most commonly adulterated foods in the world, and overseas countries or buyers often want confidence the honey being sold to them is authentic. The United Nations publishes an international standard for honey as part of its Codex Alimentarius (CODEX) range of standards, and this is widely referred to when checking for honey authenticity. Many of the tests that can be asked for in honey—including things like C4 Sugars, diastase, HMF, moisture, and conductivity—arise from this CODEX standard. This article gives an overview of what it contains, so you have a better idea of why you may be asked for such a range of honey test results.
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Glyphosate Residues in Honey

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide (weed-killer). Residues of glyphosate have been found in honey globally, and as a result some countries and/or consumers have an interest in this being measured. This article briefly covers the history of glyphosate use, and some recent international developments that have increased consumer and media awareness.
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What is Diastase

Diastase is the common name for an enzyme called alpha amylase. The role of this enzyme is to break up complex carbohydrates like starch into smaller sugars that can be more easily metabolised. Bees add diastase to nectar during feeding, although as there is no starch in nectar, it is not clear why this function has evolved.
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HMF: The effects of aging and heat treatment of honey

In honey, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is used as an indicator of aging and heat treatment. HMF is commonly tested for as part of the mānuka 3-in-1 test along with DHA (dihydroxyacetone) and MGO (methylglyoxal). International standards, including CODEX, specify that honey should contain no more than 40 mg/kg of HMF (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 2001).
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Understanding the Value of Pollen Counting

Pollen count is a test that identifies what pollen types are present in a honey sample and how much pollen in total is in a sample. This test can be used to help understand where bees have been foraging to predict what nectar has been used in making the honey.
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How to take a representative honey sample

You will get the best possible information from laboratory testing by sending a sample that is a good representation of the honey it has been taken from. The better job you can do of this, the lower the risk that future tests from the same batch will give you an unexpected result.
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What do we know about Kanuka Honey?

The unique antibacterial properties of manuka honey have had a lot of attention in the past few decades, with manuka honey garnering a high value in the international market and drawing global attention to New Zealand and this unique honey variety. Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides), a distant relative of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), has received less attention, despite this honey too having unique health properties.
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Tutin from a lab’s perspective

All New Zealand beekeepers will know about the infamous tutin due to the strict food safety rules introduced by the Ministry of Primary Industries in 2010. When your honey is sent away to be tested for tutin, what is it laboratories are looking for and what do the numbers tell you?
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