Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and its presence in honey has been firmly embedded into the product’s overall quality legislation, exemplified by honey standards of the Codex Alimentarius.
A natural component of the sweetener, HMF can be found at very low-levels, even in fresh honey, reaching a maximum of 20mg/kg after processing, storage, shipping, and warehousing. This provides the producer with a better idea of the freshness of the product.
HMF is the breakdown of fructose, one of the main sugars in honey, in the presence of acid. It is formed slowly during storage and very quickly when heated, making it a great indicator of honey quality. The use of the HMF value alone is enough to provide all of the information required to estimate the total heat exposure of honey, making it one of the most common quality tests.
According to Codex Alimentarius, honey must meet the 40mg/kg HMF limit after processing and blending, except for honey that originated from tropical climates. In this case, a higher limit of 80mg/kg is permitted. Honey that does not meet regulations in terms of moisture, HMF, or diastase activity may still be sold as industrial or baker’s honey.
Using Randox’ RX altona analyser, users can obtain fast and highly accurate results for the overall level of HMF within honey. The process is to simply weigh out 5g of honey and dissolve, transfer it to a flask, add the various reagents, and swirl to mix. The volume is then diluted and filtered before being used directly in the assay. With a minimum detection limit of 10mg/kg, the screening kit is highly sensitive, producing results in line with current regulations in as little as two minutes.
The versatile analyser is also capable of detecting diastase and total sugar levels, and has open channels to allow new tests menus to be easily updated onto the system. Along with a touch screen display, test menu personalisation, and an increase in automatic features, the overall efficiency of results is improved, guaranteeing precision and accuracy.
Alongside HMF screening, the RX altona has open channels to allow further tests to be conducted, including glucose / fructose and diastase, with additional tests in development.