Types of adulterants in Honey

Following are the common types of adulterants in honey. 

  1. Molasses
  2. Liquid glucose 
  3. Invert Sugar
  4. High fructose corn syrup
  5. Rice syrup


Molasses is made by boiling sugar cane juice until it becomes thick and viscous. In earlier days, it was a common adulterant.

Furthermore, it is turbid and dark in colour and tastes sweet as honey. 

How to identify it :

  • Take a spoonful of molasses and pour it into a glass of water. Likewise, it will dissolve before touching the bottom.
  • Molasses is very turbid compared to honey.

Liquid Glucose:

Factories made this thick shiny solution for the baking and confectionaries industry. In addition, it is easily available in the market and cost-effective.

However, liquid glucose is thicker than honey and hard to dissolve in water. This made it an attractive adulterant as many people believe anything which is hard to dissolve in water is pure honey.

How to identify it

  • It is very thick and shiny
  • It is difficult to dissolve in water compared to pure honey
  • Through Laboratory analysis
    • Determine F/G ratio

Invert sugar:

It is a thick, shiny liquid. Factories manufacture it by processing refined sugar (through acid hydrolysis). Similarly, invert sugar has extensive use in confectionery, bakery and culinary industries too.

It is less likely to crystallise compared to honey. Therefore, making it an attractive choice for honey adulteration.

This adulteration is very common in unorganised honey sellers and small honey brands. Similarly, in the wholesale market, It is available as honey grade invert sugar. And it is very cost-effective.

How to identify it

  • It is sweeter compare to honey
  • Through Laboratory analysis

High Fructose Corn Syrup: 

High fructose corn syrup is an advanced honey adulterant. It is the product of the processing of sweetcorn.

Both its consistency and composition are similar to honey. Thus, making it a suitable adulterant for big honey brands.

How to identify it

  • Through Higher Laboratory
    • analysis of C4 sugars.

Rice Syrup:

Rice syrup is manufactured through the unique processing of rice.

It is the most advanced and most common honey adulterant in the world.

Both its appearance and chemical composition is similar to honey.

It can not be detected by routine laboratory analysis done by regulatory authorities.

That is why most of the popular brands used this adulterant to dilute honey.

How to identify it

  • Advanced laboratory analysis
    • SMR
    • TMR
    • Oligosaccharides
    • NMR


There has always been a considerable gap between the supply and demand of natural honey, which has prompted adulteration.

Furthermore, there are many types of adulterants in honey. Therefore, one should be aware of recent adulterants and the tests to identify them.

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