Introduction :
Honey producers need international standards in order to present themselves in the world market. These standards are obtained in meetings of experts based on the summary of the results of daily tests performed in reference laboratories on honey sent from different countries.
Looking at the statistics approved by international standards, it can be seen that Iranian honey can achieve high degrees of international standards, and this is subject to several conditions:
1. not contaminating honey with toxins and drugs.
2. not mixing honey with syrup obtained from hand feeding.
3. preserving useful elements and enzymes of honey (not heating honey).

It is hoped that the Canada Beekeeping Society will be able to conduct specialized tests to evaluate the quality of honey to be free of any chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, microbes, sugars and impurities used by beekeepers and honey producers in connection with honey production and certified by the Canada Beekeeping Society.

It is intended that the necessary information be made available to food chemists and officials of the International Honey Commission, as well as legislators and decision-makers in the diagnosis of honey.

Factors affecting the quality of natural honey:

The higher the moisture content of honey, the more likely it is to ferment. A maximum of 21 grams per 100 grams of honey is proposed in the new standard. According to the new standard, clover honey is no exception, and therefore the maximum humidity for clover honey is 21%. In practice, this amount of moisture is rarely seen. In routine quality control tests performed on 30,000 samples by the International Committee for the Assessment of the Quality of Honey from 1989 to 1997, 91 to 95 percent of all honeys had a moisture content of less than 20. In Switzerland, the standard has also been used successfully for the past 20 years, until the Swiss Food Authority’s latest review accepted a maximum humidity of 21% proposed by the European Union.
Many national beekeeping organizations (such as Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland) have accepted a maximum moisture content of 18 to 18.5 grams.

Minerals (ash):
Ash is a qualitative and differentiating factor of different types of honey. The amount of honey ash (honey of plant origin) is less than the amount of honeydew ash (honey of insect origin). At present, this standard has been replaced by electrical conductivity. The use of the ash criterion as a quality determinant during the transition period should be maintained until the electrical conductivity of the honey is accepted as a global standard.

The old honey standard accepted a maximum of 40 milliequivalents per kilogram, which in the Codex guidelines increased to 50 milliequivalents per kilogram, although there are a number of honeys that are naturally high in acidity.
Hydroxymethyl furfural:
The main factor in determining the quality of honey is heating the honey. Fresh honeys contain virtually no hydroxymethyl furfural HMF. However, by heating honey or storing it in an inappropriate place, it will be created in honey and gradually increases, depending on the pH of the honey and the temperature of the place of storage.
Some European beekeepers’ unions (Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria) offer their own sample of honey as quality honey (up to 15 mg HMF). In international trade, a maximum of 40 mg / kg is accepted.
During 10 years of continuous control of honey at the Institute of Honey Analysis (IHA) in Bremen, Germany, in more than 90% of processed honey samples (30,000 samples) and more than 85% of commercial honey (2000 samples), the HMF level was less than 30 ml.
The maximum amount of HMF accepted by the Codex is 60 mg / kg. Honey storage in tropical countries leads to an increase of HMF, so it has been suggested to increase it to the maximum level. The latest recommendation from the European Union is a standard dose of 40 mg / kg.
One possible solution to this qualitative factor is to provide a regional standard.

Diastase activity (amylase):
Diastase activity (DN) is a qualitative factor that changes due to the sustainability of honey and heating and indicates the freshness or heating of the honey. The minimum standard for diastase activity is 8. In the daily and long-term control of the Honey Analysis Institute (IHA) in 92% of unprocessed honeys (2000 samples) and more than 88% of bulk honeys (1000 samples) the DN level was more than 8. When reading the diastase result, it should be borne in mind that some single-flower honeys naturally have low diastase activity.

Most of the sugars in honey are regenerating sugars. However, in honeydew mixed with honey, this situation is different and most of the sugars are non-reducing sugars such as malathion, maltotripose and raffinose. According to these findings, the standard of sugars has been determined and unlike the previous standard, which was 60 grams, at least 45 grams has been accepted for reducing sugars. By measuring regenerating sugars, the difference between honey and honeydew is determined. However, these differences can be determined by other methods such as the use of electrical conductivity. There is much debate about replacing the measurement of reducing sugars with specific sugars, which will be discussed in the next section.

Water-insoluble solids:
Measurement of insoluble matter is an important tool for determining the impurity of honey. Although a significant portion of the world’s honey is now extracted by pressing the honeycombs, today almost all honey is extracted.

Water-insoluble solids:
Measurement of insoluble matter is an important tool for determining the impurity of honey. Although a significant portion of the world’s honey is now extracted by squeezing the honeycombs, today almost all commercial honeys are extracted after centrifugation. It seems that the maximum allowable amount (0.1 g per 100 g of honey) is too high. Usually in honeys, the amount of these substances is small and is found in the scale of 0.05 to 0.005 grams per 100 grams.
Wax, the amount of which is not specified in the Codex standard, is the main ingredient of insoluble materials. A paper filter is used to filter the honey, but this method has not yet been adopted.
Special criteria for the international honey standard:
Figures related to the amount of sugar and the amount of electrical conductivity collected from the analysis of the laboratories of the authors of this article are given in Tables 3 and 4. 50% of the statistics are from Bremen, Germany, where honey shipped from Europe (mostly honey mixed with honeydew), Asia (mostly China), South and North America and Australia is tested daily. Statistics related to single flower honeys are from other laboratories and other countries.

Electrical conductivity:
Nowadays, electrical conductivity, instead of examining ash, is a suitable scale for distinguishing honey from honeydew. This criterion depends on the amount of ash and acidity in honey. The higher the amount of these substances, the higher the electrical conductivity. There is a linear relationship between ash content and electrical conductivity.

C = 0.14 + 1.74 A
Here C is the electrical conductivity in thousandths of a second per centimeter (mS / cm) and A is 100 grams per 100 grams of honey.
Electrical conductivity figures of honey, single flower honeys and honeycombs are summarized in Table 3. According to these statistics, the amount of electrical conductivity in honey mixed with honeydew should be less than 0.8 mS / cm and this amount in honey and chestnut honey is more than 0.8 mS / cm. Honey is an exception for some flowers as well as their mixtures, and there is a huge difference in their electrical conductivity.
Due to the need for more information about honey, it is necessary to determine the standards related to specific types of honey from different plants and geographical origins.
Measuring electrical conductivity is easy and fast and does not require expensive tools, it is widely used to distinguish single-flowered honeys from each other and to distinguish honey from honeydew. Therefore, it was initially suggested to include electrical conductivity in the international standard.

Specific sugars:
Table 4 shows the statistics of total fructose and glucose as well as sucrose sugar about 3500 samples of single flower and mixed honeys. This statistic is often related to the results of experiments performed in the laboratories , with two exceptions to the sucrose statistic taken from another source. Based on these statistics, the general standard of total fructose and glucose is 60 grams per percent for honey and 45 grams per percent for honeydew. This standard can be trusted in 99% of honey analysis cases.
The situation is a bit complicated for sucrose. The general standard of 5 g per cent can be accepted in 99% of cases.
Single flower honeys such as Banksia, Citrus, Hedysarum, Alfalfa (Medicago) and Acacia (Robinia) are the exceptions and their sucrose standard is 10 g / 100g.
The standard amount of sucrose for lavender (Lavandula) honey is 15 grams per percent.
The sum of fructose and glucose is very close to the sum of reducing sugars. Because these two sugars make up more than 90% of reducing sugars. In fact, the minimum standard proposed for the addition of glucose and fructose is 60 grams of honey and 45 grams of honey for honey, and 65 grams of honey for reducing sugars and 45 grams of honey for honey is accepted.
Setting a standard for specific types of honey will have positive results for routine honey control. At present, the sugar content of commercial honey samples is examined according to the standard, but this study does not guarantee the quality of honey, and it is necessary to study the sugar content of honey samples from different aspects of quality. In this regard, the ratio of fructose to glucose and sucrose concentration are good evidences for distinguishing between single flower honeys from each other. Also, the amount of maltoseose, maltotriose and two other oligosaccharides is a good criterion for differentiating honeydew in honey. The specific spectrum of sugars also provides information about the quality, validity and ripeness of honey.

Ultra-standard quality factors:

In addition to the usual international regulations, there are a number of useful quality criteria that are used to determine the quality of honey.
Invertase activity (honey freshness standard):
This enzyme is specifically sensitive to the heat and storage of honey and is known as the measure of honey freshness. For fresh and unheated honey, invertase number 10 is suggested and for honeys that have low enzymatic activity, invertase number is more than 4. However, invertase activity, like diastase, is naturally very different. But its effect in determining the quality of honey has been proven. Invertase activity is used in beekeepers’ unions in Germany and Belgium.

The amount of proline in honey indicates that the honey is ripe and natural, and the low amount indicates that it is immature or that the hive is fed by hand with sugar. For pure honey 180 mg / kg of proline is the minimum amount accepted for control laboratories. However, it should be borne in mind that depending on the type of honey, the amount of proline will vary greatly.

Optical rotation:

Light distortion due to different sugars of honey is an important criterion. Light aberration measurements are currently used in Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom to distinguish honey from honeydew. In Italy, it has been found that honey has a negative value in terms of light circulation, while honeydew has a positive light circulation. Whether this method is able to identify different types of honey in different geographical areas depends on future studies.