Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Adulterated honey and Apimondia 2019 in Montreal

Just received the latest issue of the ‘American Bee Journal’ that include an article about Apimondia 2019 in Montreal and the associated honey competition for the ‘Best Honey in the World’. All entries were lab tested and I was totally flabbergasted to read that 45 percent of all entries were dis-qualified for being adulterated! Apparently the organizers did not reveal the reasons for rejection but could include “such things as illicit sugars, antibiotic and pesticide residues, HMF and country of origin discrepancies”. How sad…
Then I remembered that one of our quite active forum members here in Australia not only attended Apimondia this year but also mentioned some time ago here on this forum that she was planning to enter honey at that very competition. So, after a bit of googling a found something:
CONGRATULATIONS @Webclan for not only winning Silver medal but also for passing their rigorous lab testing!


Well done to @Webclan, congratulations Weber.

PS. I googled HMF, all I could find was “High Maintenance Female”.


Thank you all very much.
Yes, the number of honey entries that were disqualified is astounding. The biggest disappointment for me was that 80 or even 85% of the commercial honeys failed the testing. They were removed from the exhibition area so nobody could see which labels didn’t make it.
There was an Australian honey amongst the commercials, but I won’t say.

All whose entries failed the test had a chance to make an appointment to find out why their honey failed.
Prof Norberto Garcia and our own Jodie Goldsworthy were in charge of those appointments.

I think they were surprised by the low number of enquiries, concluding that many knew well why their honey failed.
As I like to say, it was already a win to have passed the test. My 3 honeys all passed. The one I thought would win candied on me. We had to mail the honey to Canada about 2 months prior to judging.
A big risk with raw unfiltered honey.

@JeffH, my husband would agree with your HMF interpretation, but I tell you, in my family it would be called HMM. The woman in the house is extremely low maintenance.
However, HMF will develop in old honey naturally over years, but the process gets accelerated when honey is heated way above hive temperature. A process honey packers employ to keep their honey liquid on the shelf for as long as possible. You know all that I’m sure.
I was lucky with my silver medal. By the time I got my honey home 3 weeks later, it started clouding.
It’s odd, I love candied honey, but people prefer it clear liquid. If people knew what needs to be done to keep honey liquid forever, they surely would prefer to buy crystallizing honey?


You kept that quiet, this is the first I have read of you even going let alone bringing home the Silver, congrats.


It’s important to note that the honey winning the silver is a flow honey. Since the testing was extremely rigorous, it shows that there are no residues of any plastic or so in flow honey.
Each test result had about 3 or 4 pages in small print. I didn’t even know honey can be dissected like that.
Mira, Cedar’s sister, won a gold medal for her bee photo.
It was lovely to rub shoulders with the flow family. A humble Aussie mob, no less.

All in all, apimondia was an exciting time of learning and communicating.
And I finally personally met the people of the University of Maryland I’m working with on some projects like pollen check.


Thanks Peter. I didn’t want to brag.


Thanks Georgina for posting on this title…and congratulations Webclan.

My daughter and I were there also…volunteering in the FH booth with the FH team so we may have even chatted! We were wearing the Flowhive Australia identification name tags but we were Canucks…from the west side of Canada. There was also 3 wonderful beeks from the Montreal area and they came in very useful speaking French…such a rich experience of beekeeping culture from around the world.

I too was amazed but not surprised at the number of honey entry disqualifications and had to go over to that exhibit area to see for myself. I think there was a lot of pissed off commercial beekeepers/packers/sponsors…but perhaps it would have been best if they hadn’t entered samples for that level of scrutiny.

I think the forum members should also know that this Apimondia conference (held every two years in a different country) was a huge event with 5000 participants (130 countries)…comprising of lectures, workshops, presentations of scientific papers/abstracts, guest speakers, and the Apiexpo (exhibitors of equipment and services to the global beekeeping industry). At Apiexpo, there were over two hundred booths…phenomenal…and awards were given to the top three. Guess who walked away with silver:


I remember the last Aussie adulterated honey scandal there was talk about the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of the C4 testing with some honeys just naturally having a higher count and that the NMR test varied from lab to lab.
It just seems like a too higher number to be read at face value.
And well done to the Web Clan.

1 Like

@Doug1, I had no idea it was you, so I missed out on chatting to you about your overwintering strategy. Not because we even get winters, but I’m thinking of building a mud brick enclosure for the bees if Australia keeps heating up as it does.
I went to apimondia to satisfy my interest in apitherapy and became member of an international apitherapy group. Little did I know how much else I was to learn about beekeeping, still going through my notes and photos of educational posters.
We are about to organize a week long apitherapy certificate course with Dr Stangaciu. Currently looking at May 2020, near Byron Bay.
If anyone is interested, please message me.
Skeggs, NMR, C3 and C4 tests were done in the US, then verified by another lab in Germany. Prof Garcia told me, if there was any doubt about the origin of certain components, they let it pass. They came a long way with those tests since.
Antibiotics and pesticides at unacceptable levels were often detected. There was no doubt about those.
I wish someone would publish a table of the apimondia honey test results, without mentioning names, so people can see the impact of treatments, agriculture and pollination. It’s not just varroa that kills bees.


Congratulations on your medal-winning honey! And humble to boot :wink: We were so thrilled for a local to come home with a medal… and yes well done passing those rigorous tests.

1 Like



Congratulations. Not luck…you had good honey, silver medal honey.


@Jeff and @Webclan, re HMF (no, not the one Jeff is talking about:)). The HMF increase in honey through aging, heating to much and/or to long is also very much dependent on the ph of the honey: for example a eucalypt honey with a ph lower than 4 heated to 70 degree celsius over 48 hours has the HMF increase to about 290 mg/kg and only would be suitable for baking. In comparison a chestnut honey with a ph above 5 and the same heat treatment as above would only have a HMFincrease to about 35 mg/kg and would still pass the German guidelines to be classfied as raw honey (according to reasearch by Dr. Annette Schroeder, University of Hohenheim)


Georgina, I sure didn’t know that, but haven’t looked into all nooks and crannies of HMF creation yet for my own purpose, because I don’t heat honey. I will look into Dr Schroeder’s research. I have mainly eucalyptus honey here. It’s very relevant information for Australian beekeepers. Thank you very much for the info.

Congratulations Webclan.

More Flow owners should enter and put the others to shame.

1 Like

And not just ‘Flow Hive’ honey either Dean. We should all be proud of what our bees produce.
I wonder what the % where entries of Flow Hive honey compared to the rest? It would be interesting to know I think.


Hi Pete, a lot of people say that flow hives are just Langstroth hives, where the only difference is the method of extracting the honey. I fail to see how extracting honey from a flow hive would make the honey more superior to honey extracted the conventional way.

People will naturally argue that honey from their flow hive tastes better than honey extracted the conventional way. That would be human nature.

People with top bar or warre hives would also argue that their honey tastes superior.


I have heard of people making the claim the flow Hive honey tastes better also.
As you know I have both Langstroth and Flow hives and there is no difference in the taste providing the honey is made from the same nectar source to my taste buds. I read on another forum that one bee keeper who has both Italian and Carni hives can tell which species of his bees his honey has come from. I would love to get some of what he is smoking…:laughing::laughing: I guess he a part time bee keeper and a full time snake oil salesman. :grinning:

1 Like

Hiya Jeff, my thoughts are that Flow honey has less exposure to atmosphere. Centrifuge exposes near every drop to atmosphere under force. Straining also isnt necessary. Whether honey oxidises I don’t know. My crush and strained honey does look and taste different out of my hybrid but cant be sure if they have filled the traditional frames with the same honey as the Fframes.
I am seeing Flow honey cleaning up at shows, I hear it is now a separate division in some competitions.
Yeah, beneficially probably the same.

1 Like

Hi Jeff and Peter,
The difference may be that from 6 flow frames you can get 6 different flavours and consistencies. You could then choose which flavour you like best.
There is also the theory that flow honey gets less exposure to air during extraction and so maintains aroma. These factors get judged at competitions.
All beekeepers take pride in their product. Your own honey is always best and your buyers usually agree.