Quick update: I recently had a meeting with the Managing Director (MD) of a large honey producer in Belgium.
I was trying to source some good raw honey for my readers.
The honey may not be pasteruised, however it is heated – not good!
The MD and I spoke at great lengths about the honey and ways in which certain producers process the lovely sweet stuff!
I asked the MD why they heat the honey and the simple reason being that it is easier to transfer into the (plastic) jars.
The honey is heated at approximately 60 C – definitely not good!
Most producers use something called Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to measure the “quality” of the honey.
I found a quote (below) which sums up the basic definition of HMF:
“…Before it is sold to consumers, honey is heated, e.g. to facilitate filling. However, in order to protect certain ingredients such as enzymes from impairment, temperatures should not exceed 40°C. Moreover, the heating time should be kept as short as possible. HMF is a decomposition product of sugars formed in honey during heating. In freshly centrifuged honey, HMF cannot be detected or only in very small quantities. In the course of storage, the HMF content increases by 2-3 mg/kg per year, depending on the pH and storage temperature. At a storage temperature of 21°C, the HMF content can increase to as much 20 mg/kg in one year.
The European Union calls for an HMF content of maximally 40 mg/kg for honey produced under European conditions. National beekeeper associations such as those in Belgium and Italy are even stricter. The German beekeeper association (Deutsche Imkerbund D.I.B.) has also decided on an HMF content of no more than 15 mg/kg for its “Real German Honey” quality seal.”
Source (above quote): http://news.merck.de/N/0/144616D6EB8B3C14C1257570002876FB/$File/090305HMFe.pdf
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