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Jacob

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  1. To some extent perhaps, though you'll find that will become harder and harder to achieve as they incorporate more markers into their grading system.
  2. Now I'm no expert in batching honey, but I can certainly tell you a few things about forecasting. Generally speaking, most people find the predictions from a forecast to be satisfactory. Anecdotally this means the NPA/UMF predictions are within a few points over the period of a couple of years. These forecasts are made on the basis of fixed storage conditions though, which means constant temperature (and other conditions). Any temperature changes between your initial round of testing and subsequent retesting a year or two later can give rise to discrepancies between the predicted v
  3. We occasionally get asked to do this type of testing, but it really is exceptionally difficult. Assuming that the cause of death is even chemical related - which it may not be - there are hundreds of thousands of chemicals in a bee, and trying to distinguish the natural ones from the artificial ones is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Your best bet is to find a lab which does a multiresidue pesticide or toxin suite, and see if they'll test a bag of bees for you. If it's something like a common pesticide it might come up positive, and if it's not, you may be out of luck.
  4. It may be a little bit like barbeque and beers: although they're bad for you in excess, in many cases the benefits outweigh the cons
  5. It's formed at every temperature, but it's formed faster at higher temps. We tend to see the more dramatic HMF levels when people do clever things like leaving their drums in a 35C hot room for a few months to accelerate MGO formation.
  6. You're more than welcome to. There's a handful of variables which will affect the HMF formation rate - temperature, time, acid content, acid type, moisture content, probably more. Test as many as you want, it would make a fascinating project.
  7. The problem is that there isn't anything conclusive about toxicity levels. Looking at the scientific literature the estimates vary quite widely, but on average it might be a few hundred milligrams per kilo before serious side-effects start kicking in. I'll email you about the other questions. Some commercial syrups are very clean, especially enzymatically inverted syrups, as they don't require as much heating. I suspect it's more likely to be a problem for rookie syrup makers like myself who brew up random concoction in a kitchen pot.
  8. There is very little HMF in refined white sugar, or even brown/raw sugar. I tested a handful of samples a year or two ago for a beekeeper article I wrote. All samples were <1 mg/kg if I remember correctly. I also took the same sugar and inverted it, and showed it produced thousands of mg/kg of HMF in a pretty short time period. That's going to happen to varying extents in any sugar product you heat though, especially if it's acidified. The formation rate depends a lot on the specific conditions, so it's hard to say whether or not it would be problem for your fondant without testing it.
  9. Fortunately things have moved on a bit since then, and the test is now about a third to a fifth of that price, depending on who you go to and what you ask for.
  10. My understanding is that as long as you can prove the claim you're making then it's allowed*. That's why we can label with MGO which can be objectively measured in a lab, but can't label with NPA because it's an inferred health claim which is difficult to prove. The parallel here would be labelling with the actual peroxide content as measured objectively by a laboratory, rather than the total activity which again is an inferred health claim. * however I'm a scientist not a food labelling expert so don't quote me on that
  11. Well, you could always label the honey with the actual peroxide content, since that's what causes the activity. I bet people wouldn't like that either though because its "chemicals". Can't please everyone I guess
  12. Don't even get me started on sunblock! The way that's tested it's no wonder there's so many exposés about it. At least with TA, I suppose, a high number of equivalent magnitude to an NPA reading is still going to give you something with decent efficacy. It just may not necessarily be effective against the same things.
  13. I'm torn about these total activity ("TA") measurements. One the one hand they're a perfectly legitimate measure of the activity of a honey, though on the other hand the use of the "+" designation rides the coat-tails of manuka's non-peroxide activity ("NPA") and confuses the labelling issue further.
  14. Absolutely right, and I'd be willing to bet there's easily ten times more, or a hundred times more chemical components in propolis above what is already known. Some of the flavonoid/CAPE testing is definitely done in-house by companies selling the stuff. I doubt they test for anything other than what they're required to test for, so there will be lots of untested contaminants flying under the radar. It's the pretty standard head-in-sand approach to testing though. Every industry is guilty of it, including honey, dairy, kiwifruit, wine, etc. When you look too closely, you will invar
  15. Ethic-what? I think I heard that word once. Since when have producers and vendors cared about ethics in food labelling when you can make money by tricking people? I suppose practices like this might reduce over time as most people become interested in clearer designation of origin labelling, but while there's still a price difference you'll still have a market for local products and imported products along side one another.
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