Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Honey – it’s not always what it seems

By Janette Busch

Honey – it’s not always what it seems

Honey is a tasty, high energy food valued for its taste, colour and unique combination of nutrients that is eaten regularly in New Zealand.

As natural products, honeys can vary considerably in their composition depending on the flowers or plants the bees visit. Some honeys in New Zealand come from nectar collected from several different flowers while many are collected from mostly one type of flower and these are called mono-floral honeys.

Patchanee Boontaganon, a PhD student in the Food Group at Lincoln University undertook a comprehensive physical and chemical analysis of 74 New Zealand honeys and discovered that 29 out of 64 mono-floral honey samples bought from New Zealand supermarkets were not true to label based on pollen count (the other ten honeys were from a variety of different plants).

Patchanee used standard industry analytical methods to confirm the floral identity and nutritional contents of the honey. She used analytical methods to quantify hydrogen peroxide content and antioxidant activity in honey.

Hydrogen peroxide occurs naturally in honey and plays a major role in its antimicrobial activity while antioxidants protect against free radical damage.

“These compounds benefit the people who eat the honey,” said Patchanee.

Patchanee found that the majority of the honeys had similar results except for manuka honey and manuka honey blends, which had much higher antioxidants, hydrogen peroxide and was a darker colour than clover honey.

Honey producers test the honey to ensure its quality and to differentiate between honeys produced from different plants.

The New Zealand Guidelines for Mono-floral Varieties of Honey produced by the Bee Products Standards Council contain the minimum percentage of pollen needed from a specific plant before a honey can be marketed as a named (mono-floral) honey. In this study, fewer than half the manuka honeys were true to label.

As shown by Patchanee and other researchers, New Zealand’s unique manuka honey contains large amounts of several beneficial compounds and so consumers are willing to pay extra for these properties compared to a common type of honey such as clover.

“However, in view of my results, it is essential that the honey industry invests funds into ensuring all honey is true to label to maintain consumer confidence in this delicious food,” said Patchanee.

Associate Professor Geoffrey Savage from the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences was supervisor of Patchanee’s project.

He said, “Readers may be aware of publicity around another issue in the honey industry in regard to incorrect UMF (unique manuka factor) levels being put on manuka honey labels. While this is unrelated to Patchanee’s research, it highlights the importance of the honey industry ensuring the integrity in the identification of all honey, not only highly prized varieties like manuka.”

Patchanee presented her results at the NZ Nutrition Society conference in Queenstown.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Leighton-Led WGP To Build, Manage Transmission Gully

The Wellington Gateway Partnership, led by a unit of ASX-listed Leighton Holdings, has won the $1 billion contract to build the Transmission Gully road north of Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Gareth Morgan: The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – Revisited

Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation... They found that the fresh water policy was a bit murkier than the Environment Minister let on. More>>

ALSO:

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.” More>>

ALSO:

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Postie Plus Brand Gets 2nd Chance With Well-Funded Pepkor

The Postie Plus brand is getting a new lease of life after South Africa’s Pepkor bought the failed retailer’s assets out of administration and said it will use its purchasing power to reduce costs of stock and fatten margins. More>>

ALSO:

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news