Honey is defined as “the sweet foodstuff derived from the nectar of flowers, sugary secretions of insects, sugary secretions of living plant parts other than flowers or from plant juices, after it has been gathered, partially converted and stored in the honeycomb by honeybees”

Extracted honey is honey that is separated from the comb by centrifugal force, gravity, straining, or by other means.

Physical attributes:

Honey shall:

  • be well ripened in the hive in order to contain the correct moisture content and enzyme activity
  • be free from particles foreign to its composition (such as mould, insects, insect debris, sand etc)
  • have a color that is associated with the source which can range from extra light amber to dark amber.
  • have a good flavor and aroma typical of the source.
  • be reasonably free of particles.
  • be crystallized or liquid

Chemical attributes:

Honey shall not;

  • have any foreign tastes or odors
  • have begun to ferment or effervesce

Any of the following relevant tests may be selected to determine the composition, quality and ripeness of honey and if the honey does not comply with any of these selected test, then it shall be deemed as not complying with the standards for grades of honey.

Tests done (annually) using local facilities:

  • Maximum HMF content – shall not exceed 40mg/kg
  • Maximum ash content – shall not exceed 0.6%
  • Maximum sucrose content – shall not exceed 5%
  • Maximum reducing sugar content – shall not be less than 65% in floral honey or 60% in honey dew honey.
  • Fructose/glucose ratio – shall not be less than 1.0: 1
  • Antibiotic tests including Streptomycin, Tetracycline and Chloramphenicol shall be negative.
  • Moisture content shall not exceed 20%
  • When used as a sweetener for tea it should not discolour the tea in anyway.
  • Direct and immediate specific rotation – of an aqueous solution containing 26g of floral honey in a total volume of 100ml shall not be less laevorotatory than minus 10 at 20 degrees Celsius
  • Maximum acid content shall not be higher than 40milli equivalents acid per kg.

Tests done (3 yearly) using international facilities:

  • Maximum density – shall not be less than 1.40875g at 20oC
  • Diastase activity – shall not be present and shall show a DN value not lower than DN4 on the Gothe Scale.
  • Amylodextrine and erythrodexorine – test for their presence shall be negative.
  • Proline – at least 200mg per kg shall be present.
  • Amylase content shall not be below 8ppm.
  • Invertase content shall not be below 4ppm
  • Water insoluble solids content in the liquid honey portion shall not be more than 0.1%
  • The difference between the stable isotope ratio delta 13C(%) of the honey and the stable isotope ratio of its protein content shall not be less than 0.0.
  • Antibiotic testing – chloramphenicol shall be negative

Legislative aspects

The raw honey shall at all times adhere to the current legislation applicable to honey production (Regulations 1013:1989 and R835: 2000 as well as all amendments).


Honey to arrive at the processing facility in sealed containers. No spillage to be visible. Food grade plastic or food quality lined metal drums are suitable.

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