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Codex Alimentarius - Honey
Methods of Pollen Analysis
Characteristics NZ Honey - Cawthron Inst.
Bibliography on NZ Beekeeping
Pollen Analysis of NZ Honey - Moar.
Airborne's Standard Sampling System



Codex Alimentarius - Honey

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is an organization run by the United Nation's Joint FAO/WHO. Its objectives are to create an international set of food standards to enhance food safety and fair trade. The Codex Honey standard is available as a PDF here.

Airborne Honey follows and applies the current Codex standard for honey and in particular the standards laid out for monofloral honeys.
The Codex Honey Standard also lists standard methods to be used in analysis of various honey.



Methods of Melissopalynology (Pollen Analysis), Louveaux, Maurizio & Vorwhol

Methods for pollen analysis of honey. This paper details materials, techniques and interpretation of pollen analysis and microscopical analysis of honey.

PDF Format 100kb        


Pollen Analysis of NZ Honey - N. T. MOAR
Botany Division, DSIR Private Bag, Christchurch, New Zealand New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 1985, Vol. 28: 39-70 0028 – 8233/85/2801-0039 © Crown copyright 1985

PDF Format - 465kb        


Abstract A pollen analytical study of New Zealand honey provides a basis for identifying the origins of a honey in terms of locality and floral source. The information may be used to develop analytical standards for pollen, contributing to quality control of a product offered for export or for the home market. General principles outlined by the International Commission for Bee Botany have been used as a guide, although in practice these are considerably modified. Samples were processed by acetolysis, and absolute pollen counts were obtained by spiking with a known number of Lycopodium spores. Most New Zealand honey falls within the "normal" category (20 000-100 000 pollen grains in a standard 10 g sample). Clover honey is in this category. Thyme honey with a pollen content less than 20 000 grains per 10 g sample, and manuka honey where the pollen content exceeds 100 000 grains, are examples of "under-represented" and "over represented" categories respectively. The analyses confirm the importance of white clover to apiarists, they provide details of characteristic pollen spectra for New Zealand honey, and draw attention to difficulties associated with assessing honey type by organoleptic criteria. Standards developed for New Zealand honey by pollen analysis should be flexible enough to accommodate changes as more data becomes available.




Airborne's Standard Sampling System

PDF Version 83kb    

his is the Airborne Standard for preparing, documenting and storing representative samples of honey for sale.

Taking Samples

Samples should be prepared for each BATCH as follows :

As drums are filled from the extraction holding tank;

  • For batches that are 5 drums or less, a sample should be taken every drum.
  • For batches that are greater than 5 drums - a sample should be taken every second drum.
  • At the end of the tank mix these together to create one total sample of the entire batch.
  • This total sample created from the batch should be approx 2 kilos.

From this several samples of this batch can be supplied, should there be a requirement to do so, while still keeping some in reserve. This remaining sample must be kept for at least 9 months after the honey has been sold.

Sample Containers

The producer should keep the master sample in an airtight container to eliminate moisture being absorbed by the honey. The sample should also be stored in the dark in a cool (<20°C) place.

There are a number of good containers for sending samples via the post. Nexus Packaging supply Polyjars of 150gm, 250gm and 500gm sizes with good sealing caps. We supply a 50gm (30 ml) polycarbonate container. These are indestructible. Price of these is approx 45 cents ea.

Batch Numbers

  • Batch numbers identify the batch that each sample and drum came from.
  • Every sample and drum must have a batch number on it.
  • Batch numbers should be made up with two parts. One part should identify the batch and the other should identify the drum in the batch.
  • In a batch of 5 drums the first drum could be marked A1, the second drum marked A2, the third A3 and so on up to A5
  • The sample should be marked A1-5 in this case. This way it is clear from the batch number that the batch represents 5 drums.
  • If you like you can add other figures to the first part of the batch number for your own reference e.g. HDA to remind you that this is "Honey Dew" batch "A". Do not get too complicated though.

Marking Samples

  • All sample containers must be marked with the batch number and producer's name on the container, not the lid (lids have a habit of getting swapped from one container to another).
  • We can supply a standard label for marking samples with. It should be used if possible.
  • Use a permanent (spirit based), black felt tipped pen. E.g. a "Sanford Sharpie Extra Fine Point Permanent Marker". These do not fade and will write on most surfaces


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