Composition of Australian honey

(DPI) The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within Regional NSW

  • Project code: PRJ-012227

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, August 30, 2023

  • National Priority: HBE-Deliver quality Australian honey with well-characterised attributes and traceability


This project will develop a database of the composition of Australian honey based on internationally recognised regulations. Firstly we will establish the analytical methods required for honey quality analysis, including parameters such as fructose, glucose and sucrose content, moisture, electrical conductivity, free acid, enzyme activity and HMF. Where possible, this will include participating in domestic and/or international proficiency testing programs to ensure results are accurate and precise.
Once analytical methods are established, a database of the composition of Australian honey will be developed. This database will indicate the variations in the composition of Australian honey and could be used to develop an Australian honey standard in collaboration with an organisation such as Standards Australia or Australia/New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA). This will be a considerable exercise and will take an extended period of time as seasonal, geographic and botanical source variations will influence the chemistry of honey and therefore need to be observed over a number of years. Although the initial funding period will be for two years, further funding will be sought at a later date to add more samples to the database.
It is envisaged the information from this project will enable the development of a commercial testing service (established by NSW DPI) for honey producers to gain a better understanding of the quality of their product. A fully integrated system including customer service, laboratory testing and reporting is in place and easily adaptable to include honey testing. The laboratory will work towards gaining international accreditation for honey analysis such as ISO17025 (NATA accreditation), as well as participating in laboratory proficiency programs for honey to ensure the accuracy of the analysis.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

(DPI) The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within Regional NSW

Objective Summary

Researchers will work collaboratively with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), the Honey Packers and Marketers Association (HPMA) and producers to acquire a representative number of honeys from all production areas based on feedback from the industry regarding typical botanical sources and honey volumes from each area. Industry advice will be sought to determine the criteria for sampling (e.g. floral source, geographic area and time of harvest). These honeys will be analysed for quality parameters using well established analytical methods.