Unlock the secret of superior honey using Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 and HMF Testing

February 8, 2024 Henri Igna 0 Comments

In the world of honey production, where each drop is a testament to nature’s sweetness, ensuring the highest quality is not just a standard – it’s a commitment to excellence. As we approach Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and cherished moments, let’s delve into the heart of honey production and explore how the Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 and HMF Testing can be the game-changer your operation needs.

Understanding HMF in Honey

Honey, a delectable natural product crafted by honeybees, stands out not only for its exquisite taste but also for its complex composition, which includes a myriad of compounds contributing to its nutritional and medicinal properties. One such compound of significance is 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). HMF is a cyclic aldehyde formed during the Maillard reaction, a non-enzymatic browning reaction, which occurs when honey undergoes prolonged storage or food processing.

The presence of HMF in honey serves as a crucial indicator of its freshness and quality. Fresh honeys typically exhibit minimal or no HMF concentration, while its levels tend to rise during processing, aging, or exposure to unfavorable conditions. Factors such as storage temperature, environmental conditions, honey processing techniques, and the materials used for storage containers play pivotal roles in influencing HMF levels. The Codex Alimentarius Standard commission has established a maximum limit for HMF in honey at 40 mg/kg, with a higher limit of 80 mg/kg for honeys from tropical regions, to ensure consumer safety by preventing extensive heating during processing.

Interestingly, HMF is not exclusive to honey; it is pervasive in various heat-processed, sugar-containing food products that constitute a significant portion of our daily diet, ranging from breakfast cereals to fruit juices. Consequently, HMF has become a key quality index for multiple commercial food items.

Historically, HMF has been associated with potential health risks, including cytotoxicity, mutagenicity, chromosomal aberrations, and carcinogenicity. However, recent extensive studies have unveiled a spectrum of positive effects attributed to HMF, such as antioxidative, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypoxic properties. This evolving understanding prompts a reevaluation of the compound’s role in human health.

Testing HMF with Reflectometer RQflex ® 20

Reflectometer RQflex® 20
  1. Accurate Freshness Assessment:

The Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 empowers honey producers with precise measurements, allowing for real-time assessment of freshness. This not only ensures quality but also contributes to a consistent and superior flavor profile.

  1. Degradation Detection:

Detecting degradation early is crucial in maintaining the integrity of your honey. The Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 is equipped to identify any signs of degradation, enabling timely interventions and safeguarding the overall quality of your product.

  1. Overheating Identification:

Overheating can compromise the essence of honey, leading to altered taste and diminished nutritional value. The Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 is designed to identify overheating, allowing producers to take corrective measures and uphold the high standards of their honey.

Crafting Love, One Honey Jar at a Time

To assist honey producers in mastering the art of quality control, we have prepared a comprehensive application note. This resource provides insights into correctly measuring HMF in honey, offering a step-by-step guide to utilizing the Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 and HMF Test effectively.

As we celebrate love this Valentine’s Day, let your honey production reflect the same level of dedication and passion. Elevate your standards with the Reflectometer RQflex ® 20 and HMF Testing – because every jar of honey should be a masterpiece of sweetness and love.


Shapla, U.M., Solayman, M., Alam, N. et al. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) levels in honey and other food products: effects on bees and human health. Chemistry Central Journal 12, 35 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13065-018-0408-3

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