With Rosh Hashanah on the way, which honey should you avoid buying?

Nearly fifty brands sold in Israel were tested to examine authenticity and quality.

DIPPING APPLES in honey for a sweet new year (photo credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90)
DIPPING APPLES in honey for a sweet new year
(photo credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90)
With Rosh Hashanah on the way, store shelves are filled with so many brands making it hard to know which to chose in order to start the year off sweet and right. However, there's no reason to get overwhelmed, as below is a comprehensive list of which honeys you should avoid in order to help you make your decision.
The list comes from the annual survey conducted by the National Food Services in cooperation with the Health and Environment Laboratory at the Standards Institute of Israel (SII) together with the INTERTEK laboratory in Germany, which have conducted a test among nearly 50 brands in order to examine consumer indices of quality and authenticity.
The Health Ministry notes that it can be difficult to distinguish pure honey versus fake honey by way of appearance or taste, and recommends purchasing honey with a quality stamp on the label, that reads "quality honey made in Israel," or a manufacturers stamp. In addition, the Honey Council encourages the purchasing of honey made in Israel, by buying directly from local apiaries.
So, which honey should you avoid buying?
Davash Tahor (Dark Honey) - Use by 02/05/2021 - Credit: Health MinistryDavash Tahor (Dark Honey) - Use by 02/05/2021 - Credit: Health Ministry
1. Davash Tahor (Pure Honey) - Use by 02/05/2021
This brand of honey is first on the list, sourced from natural wild flowers, and produced and imported from Ukraine. The indices indicate that what was found inside the jar is not honey, and the Food Services at the Health Ministry have opened an investigation.
Examiners found an abnormality in this honey's sugar level. The minimum level of sugar according to the Israeli standard is 65%, while examiners at SII found a sugar level of 15% and INTERTEK found a level of 12.1%.
In addition, there was also an abnormality found regarding the diastase enzyme level. In Israel, the standard level of the enzyme is 8 Schade, the unit used to measure the enzyme. However, the examiners at SII found 2 Schade units, while INTERTEK found no activity of the enzyme.
Delimiel Davash Tivi (Delimiel Natural Honey) - Use by 31/12/2026 (Credit: Health MinistryDelimiel Davash Tivi (Delimiel Natural Honey) - Use by 31/12/2026 (Credit: Health Ministry
2. Delimiel Davash Tivi (Delimiel Natural Honey) - Use by 31/12/2026
Second on the list is Delimiel Davash Tivi, of which the origin is either unknown or comes from an unknown plant source. Kosher for Passover, this honey is imported from Spain.
The level of HMF (hydroxy methylphorphoral) is a measure of the quality of honey, and its value increases according how much the honey was heated and the duration of time the honey was stored for. According to the Israel standard for honey, the maximum standard of HMF is 80 mg/kg, however, the SII found 231 mg/kg while INTERTEK found 259 mg/kg.
In addition, an abnormality in the level of the diastase enzyme was also found. As mentioned above the minimal level according to the Israeli standard is 8 Schade, yet the SII found only one unit, and the INTERTEK didn't find any diastate enzyme activity at all. The level of diastase may also indicate the quality of the honey.
As these deviations are so significant, the Health Ministry's Food Service has opened an investigation.
Davash Devorim Tahor Prachei Sadeh (Pure Bee and Wildflower Honey) - use by 31/12/2022 Credit: Health MinistryDavash Devorim Tahor Prachei Sadeh (Pure Bee and Wildflower Honey) - use by 31/12/2022 Credit: Health Ministry
3. Davash Devorim Tahor Prachei Sadeh (Pure Bee and Wildflower Honey) - use by 31/12/2022
Coming from the Ness Tziona apiary in Israel, deviations from the Israeli standards for honey were found in the quality parameters of HMF levels and the diastase enzyme. As mentioned above, the normal amount of the HMF is 80 mg/kg. However, the SII found 194 mg/kg and INTERTEK found 182.5 mg/kg. Meanwhile, with the minimum Israeli standard of the diastase enzyme being 8 Schade, SII found 3 Schade units and the INTERTEK found 5.8 Schade units.
Shaveh! Davash Devorim Tahor (Worth it! Dark Bee Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)Shaveh! Davash Devorim Tahor (Worth it! Dark Bee Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)
4. Shaveh! Davash Devorim Tahor (Worth it! Pure Bee Honey) - use by 31/12/2021
Produced in Netivot, a deviation in HMF levels were found. SII found HMF levels of 102 mg/kg, while INTERTEK found 275.7 mg/kg.
Daroma, Davash Devorim Tahor (Southern, Pure Bee Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)Daroma, Davash Devorim Tahor (Southern, Pure Bee Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)
5. Daroma, Davash Devorim Tahor (Southern, Pure Bee Honey) - use by 12/2020
Made in an apiary belonging to the Beit Oved moshav located in the center of Israel, deviations from the Israeli standard of HMF were found. With the Israeli standard of HMF in honey at 80 mg/kg, the SII found an HMF level of 106 mg/kg while the INTERTEK found a level of 88.3 mg/kg.
Hadavash Shel Saba (Grandpa's Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)Hadavash Shel Saba (Grandpa's Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)
6. Hadavash Shel Saba (Grandpa's Honey) - sell by 01/11/2020
Coming from Ein Vered and sourced from wildflowers, deviations from the Israeli standard of HMF levels at 80 mg/kg and of the diastase enzyme of 8 Schade levels were found.
The SII found 138 mg/kg of HMF in the honey, while INTERTEK found 107.3 mg/kg. In addition, the SII found 2 Schade units of the diastase enzyme, and INTERTEK found 3.7 Schade units.
Tzuf, Davash Organi (Organic Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)Tzuf, Davash Organi (Organic Honey) (HEALTH MINISTRY)
7. Tzuf, Davash Organi (Organic Honey) - use by 04/2022
Imported from Argentina, a deviation of HMF levels from the Israeli standard was found.
The SII found HMF levels of 128 mg/kg while INTERTEK found 104.8 mg/kg.
Nitzat Haduvdevan (HEALTH MINISTRY)Nitzat Haduvdevan (HEALTH MINISTRY)
8. Nitzat Haduvdevan - use by 01/04/2022
Also imported from Argentina, examiners found a deviation in the HMF levels.
While the maximum level of HMF in Honey according to the Israeli standard is 80 mg/kg the SII found 112 mg/kg and INTERTEK found 99.1 mg/kg.
9. Davash Tahor (Pure Honey) from Ein Harod Meuhad - use by 16/04/2023
In this honey, deviations in HMF levels were found; while the maximum level of HMF in Honey according to the Israeli standard is 80 mg/kg the SII found 91 mg/kg and INTERTEK found 86.4 mg/kg