Non-pollen particulates in honey and sugar

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2013;30(12):2136-40. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2013.843025. Epub 2013 Oct 28.


A total of 19 honey samples, mostly from Germany but also from France, Italy, Spain and Mexico, were analysed for non-pollen particulates. Only coloured fibres and fragments were quantified. Transparent fibres, considered to be cellulosic because they could be stained with fuchsin, were not quantified. Coloured material was found in all the samples investigated. Fibre counts ranged from 40/kg to 660/kg of honey, with a mean value of 166 ± 147/kg of honey, whereas fragments were considerably less abundant (0-38/kg of honey; mean 9 ± 9/kg of honey). Sources are tentatively identified as environmental, that is particles having been transported by the bees into the hive, or having been introduced during honey processing or both. In addition, five commercial sugars were analysed. In all the refined samples, transparent and coloured fibres (mean 217 ± 123/kg of sugar) and fragments (32 ± 7/kg of sugar) were found. Unrefined cane sugar had 560 fibres and 540 fragments per kilogram of honey. In addition, in both honey and sugar samples, granular non-pollen material was observed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cellulose / analysis
  • Cellulose / chemistry
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Dietary Sucrose / chemistry*
  • Dietary Sucrose / economics
  • Europe
  • Filtration
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Handling
  • Germany
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Honey / economics
  • Mexico
  • Particle Size
  • Pigmentation
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Saccharum / chemistry


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Plant Extracts
  • Cellulose