Is your honey real or adulterated?

When you add a spoonful of honey to your morning tea, we’re guessing the last thing on your mind is if it’s real or not. Honey is honey – right?

Wrong. Not all honey is the same, or even real for that matter. In fact, a large percentage of honey is adulterated – meaning it’s been diluted with other ingredients like corn syrup, glucose or beet syrup. Some brands may even contain chemically modified sugars to make their product look like honey when it’s not.

Why’s adulterated honey worth getting a bee in your bonnet over? Because it’s generating a lot of buzz in the global food chain. (We can’t resist a good bee pun.) Honey is the third-most-faked food in the world. And it’s bad for bees and buyers for a lot of reasons:

  • Fake honey costs less, which drives the price down for real honey. You may save a few cents at the store, but these prices make it harder for real honey farms to survive and keep pure honey on shelves. Adulterated honey drives down the availability of authentic honey.
  • Adulterated honey is less healthy. Real honey contains simple sugars that benefit your immune system (read more about the health benefits of real honey here). But the high-fructose ingredients in adulterated honey can increase blood sugar and your chance of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
  • It puts bees out of business. Less real honey means fewer hives. To survive, some beekeepers may even shift their operation from production to pollination, meaning bees travel more and put their hives at greater risk.
  • Consumers aren’t always aware that the “honey” they’re buying is actually full of fillers and corn syrup. Bottom line: you should know if the honey you’re buying is real or not.

So, what should you do if you suspect your favorite natural sweetener isn’t the real deal? Take an extra minute at the grocery store, or do a few at-home experiments on the honey already in your pantry.

At the grocery store:

  • Read the ingredients. Anything with additional ingredients, additives or added flavors is adulterated honey.
  • The USDA does not test for honey purity, so a USDA logo doesn’t mean it’s real.
  • Check the label for phrases that flag a product might be fake, like “honey blend” or “honey product.”
  • Most authentic honey brands will proudly say so. Research where your honey is coming from, and buy direct from the farm if you can.


At home:

  • Drop a spoonful of honey into a glass of water. If the honey sinks to the bottom in its entirety, it’s probably real. If it dissolves or leaves white traces, it’s fake.
  • Dip a matchstick in the honey and try to light it. If it ignites and the honey burns, it’s likely authentic. If not, it’s been watered down. You can also heat the honey itself in a pan or on a spoon – it should caramelize and bubble easily.
  • In a glass, combine a spoonful of honey, a few drops of vinegar and a small amount of water. If the mixture starts to foam, the honey is adulterated. 

At Adee Honey Farms, we never adulterate or dilute our honey – it’s as real as honey gets. From the hive to your home, every jar is authentic Midwestern honey, with all the flavor and health benefits you expect.

For four generations, we’ve been passionate about preserving the process of making real, authentic honey for your family, for our honeybee population and for our future. And that’s the unadulterated truth.