The best that nature provides us
Langnese honey already exists since 1927. And for decades we have been the most popular honey brand in Germany. Our secret: offering consistently the highest honey quality.
As Germany’s leading bottler of honey, the historic company of Langnese Honig has placed value on providing consistently high-quality bee honey since 1927.
Selected honey farms supply the best honeys from many different regions across the globe, ensuring an almost unlimited selection of honey varieties.
The Langnese quality control process begins right at its source. All honey farms inspect the honey according to a diverse set of criteria even before it is delivered to Langnese Honey.
Even after the honey is delivered, all components of the honey are subjected to another careful inspection and only then approved under the famous Langnese quality standards. Drawing on the latest scientific knowledge and cutting-edge technology, Langnese ensures that the quality of its honey goes well beyond the statutory minimum requirements, rather than merely meeting them.
- Quality Assurance
As a genuine product of nature, honey is never homogeneous. Even honeys from the same region may differ from one harvest to the next. These differences may be owing to factors such as weather or changes in the blooming periods of plants. However, beekeepers themselves can also affect the quality of the honey by means of transport and storage conditions.
This is why Langnese Honig guarantees, by means of constant and extensive inspections, that the goods delivered meet the high quality requirements of its brand. Through more than 100,000 analyses per year, the Langnese quality assurance process ensures that the quality of the honey meets the high quality requirements of the Langnese brand. Not only appearance and taste but also chemical-physical testing yield information about the quality of the honey.
The analyses can be broken down into three areas:
- Varietal purity and fitness for declaration: based on pollen analysis and sensory attributes
- Physical-chemical analyses: verification of water content, enzyme content, HMF value, and other components
- Analysis of residue: testing for residues
Specially trained employees ensure that tests are used to good purpose in all areas. A HACCP plan and established operating instructions ensure that workflows are transparent and guarantee the quality of the honey – and thus the enjoyment of the consumer.
- Quality Assurance Timeline at Langnese
Langnese Honig selects vendors carefully. The honey supplied by the vendors is subject to specifications that describe the target quality.
An initial external inspection of the delivery indicates whether there is major contamination or damage.
The goods delivered are assigned a stock number that identifies them uniquely.
Samples of honey are taken from every load for the laboratory. They are used for all quality control tests conducted (see above). Only once the laboratory has no objections is the honey approved for further processing.
The honey passes through many strainers to ensure that it does not contain any impurities, such as particles of wax from the extraction process.
Even during processing, the honey is sampled and tested exhaustively.
Last but not least comes the final inspection: Finished jars are spot-checked. The external presentation and packaging are inspected along with “inner values”.
Langnese keeps the route of the honey from the plant to store shelves as short as possible so that the consumer always gets the “freshest possible” jar or dispenser.
- Pollen Analysis
One key element of honey testing is pollen analysis. This requires very special knowledge, and that is why only a few laboratories are able to conduct these tests professionally. Under the microscope, experts can identify precisely which honey plants and region the pollen comes from. This allows both the botanical and the geographical origin of the honey to be identified.
The pollen analysis forms the basis for the declaration of varietal honey and information about origin. Beekeeping practices are also assessed and monitored to establish whether any manipulation occurred, for example in filtering the honey or adding pollen.
- Of Public Interest
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Honey
Like all natural products, honey is a mirror image of the environment. Bees gather nectar and pollen in their natural habitat.
As a result of green genetic engineering, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are found in many regions of the world in plants such as rapeseed, corn, soybeans and cotton. They are farmed primarily in the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India and EU member states. Genetically modified plants are also farmed in Germany.
Honey itself does not contain any GMOs, but the pollen found in honey may come from a genetically modified plant. Even so, pollen accounts for a very small portion of honey – less than 0.1 percent.
To feed themselves, bees fly in a radius of about 7 kilometers, and sometimes even farther than that. This means that it cannot be verified where the bee flies, and thus it can also not be ruled out that the bee will fly to a GMO plant and that its pollen will get into the honey. Moreover, the wind can carry pollen several hundreds of kilometers. This is one of the reasons why GM pollen can be identified in German honeys as well. However, this pollen does not represent genetically modified organisms – they are inactive in the honey, and it has been documented that they do not transfer any genetic material to the honey.
Tests of Residues
Any honey can only be harvested with as little contamination as the environmental conditions in the harvesting area allow. The bee itself acts almost as a “biofilter”: It is very sensitive to pesticides and other chemicals and for this reason usually dies before it reaches the hive. In spite of this, contamination cannot be ruled out due to inappropriate use in many different areas (agriculture and forestry, beekeeping and the like). By constantly improving its testing methods and maintaining the highest precision in analysis with the latest HPLC equipment, Langnese ensures that no contaminated honey reaches store shelves.
Sensory and Organoleptic Analysis
Probably one of the most difficult duties involved in honey analysis is sensory evaluation, i.e. assessing the honey with all of the senses. This is where we determine whether a honey meets all of the requirements for smell, taste and appearance (e.g. mild, spicy, the taste or smell of a particular honey plant) to which it is subject. To fulfill this duty, the sensory analyst must have years of experience with honey, constant training and highly attuned senses. The flavors of honey change constantly because the honeys have different compositions time and again. This means that there are practically no comparative tests that can be archived over the long term. Nuances only exist in memory. In this area as well, an expert testing panel ensures that Langnese Honig always offers its customers the same high level of quality.
Testing Methods in Detail
Enzyme content (diastase and saccharase content) provide information about whether the honey was ready for harvesting and carefully extracted and processed.
The HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) content enables conclusions to be drawn about whether the product was exposed to a thermal load (heat exposure).
The water content yields information about whether the honey was harvested ripe or unripe.
Dextrin determination provides indications of possible adulteration of the honey with starchy high-glucose syrups (this is rarely used and only if there is reason for suspicion; for the most part it has been replaced by HPLC methods).
Tests to determine pH value, electrical conductivity and ash content are used to ensure the honey’s fitness for declaration as “honeydew honey”.
The ratio of fructose to glucose content is determined in order to establish whether the honey tends more toward liquid or crystallized honey.
The glycerin content is determined in order to rule out any potential manipulation of the water content, which is prohibited.