Fake and impure honeys have become commonplace in the market today, despite many people's preference for 100% bee-produced honey. Unfortunately, unless you live in the European Union or Florida, you may not be able to trust "pure honey" labels. Because of the wide variety of honeys and the large number of sugar syrups or other ingredients that unscrupulous manufacturers dilute it with, no single home test is completely successful. Use several of these tests if possible to obtain a good guess about whether or not your honey is pure.
- Any product sold in the European Union as honey must be free of additives by law, including antibiotics used to treat bees for disease. Any honey with defects seriously affecting the taste must be sold as "baker's honey" intended for use in processed foods.
- The United States government does not test for honey purity, and allows trace amounts of antibiotics. A USDA logo does not mean the honey is pure.
- Florida is the only U.S. state that requires honey to display all additives as long as it is both manufactured and sold within Florida. Beware substances sold under a different name, such as "honey blends" or "honey products," which do not fall under this law.
Check the label, but don't take it for granted. Check around the brand name or logo in addition to the ingredient list to check for "additives" or "added flavors." Pure honey should only have one ingredient: honey. However, even if no other ingredients are listed, the manufacturer may not be telling the truth.
Taste the honey if a sample is offered. Tasting is not an accurate way to test for additives, but if taste is your main concern, it could be all you need to make a decision. Note that a "weird" taste does not necessarily mean the honey isn't pure. There are many varieties of honey made from the nectar of different flowers, saps, or even the secretions of sap-eating insects. Each of these produces different flavors, and even the honey of one beehive can vary from year to year as they collect nectar from different sources.
- Most sellers will not allow you to open a jar before purchasing. Ask whether you can taste a sample, but do not insist if one is not available.