Debunking the Rumoured Water Test for Honey Purity Testing


  • Ever L.
  • Julia S.
  • Aathavan S.
  • Jennifer T.


Honey fraud is a major threat to the global honey market. Because of this, most honey
sold in Canada is tested in laboratories using complex technologies such as DNA barcoding.
But for people at home without access to professional laboratories, online websites provide
DIY tests that claim to detect honey adulteration. One of these online tests called “the water
test” claims to be able to detect honey adulteration using just water. The water test claims that
adulterated honey, unlike pure honey, will dissolve in water upon stirring. Our study aims to
assess the authenticity of the water test, by examining whether it can detect water and corn
syrup adulteration in honey samples. We hypothesised that the honey test will be able to
detect honey adulterated with corn syrup and water. To test our hypothesis, we had 4
treatments: pure honey, pure corn syrup, honey adulterated with water and honey adulterated
with corn syrup. We stirred the 15 grams of the treatment into water and weighed the samples
afterwards to see if it dissolved. We found that after performing the test, the pure honey
sample lost 0.016% of its weight, the pure corn syrup sample lost 7.97%, the honey and corn
syrup sample lost 5.00%, and the honey and water sample lost 63.75% of its weight. After
running the Kruskal-Wallis test and Tukey multiple comparisons test, we found that the water
test could strongly detect honey that was adulterated with water but struggled to detect honey
that was adulterated with corn syrup.