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WA Honey Definitions


B-QUAL Australia Pty Limited has been established by the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) as an independently developed and audited food safety program, and includes biosecurity inspections and reporting. B-QUAL is the Quality Assurance System for all commercial beekeepers or those with more than 50 hives. 

A Quality Assurance program like B-QUAL is in place to provide standards that apply to your apiary, extraction, packing, and biosecurity activities and records. 


B-TRACE is designed for smaller enterprises to maintain readily available hive record information that satisfies the requirements of the National Biosecurity Code of Practice, including Extracting and Product records that are also required by legislation. B-TRACE is the Australian Quality Assurance System for all Recreational beekeepers with under 100 hives and producing less than 6,000kg per annum. 

TA – Total antimicrobial activity. 

TA refers to the bacteria-killing scale; the higher the TA the greater the antimicrobial strength. TA is often seen on labels followed by a number. For example TA30+. TA is measured using the “phenol equivalence test”, and the values typically range from <5 to high 30’s.


All honey has natural antibacterial activity due to the high sugar content (known as baseline activity) but in some honeys there is additional activity. This additional activity is due to the non-sugar components, including hydrogen peroxide, and natural enzymes and nectar-derived chemicals in the honey. This is important for beekeepers as a higher TA means that the honey can be marketed at a higher price.

'Active' Honey

This infers that the honey has antibacterial activity above the baseline. ‘Active’ refers to honey that has had its antibacterial activity independently tested. In WA this testing is most likely completed at ChemCentre, Novost or the National Measurement Institute.

Crystallised Honey

The crystallisation of honey is a natural process and a result of enzymes produced by the honey bee for the maturation process. Honey bees favour nectars with a sucrose content higher than glucose and fructose, but once exposed to the honey stomach enzymes, invertase, diastase and amylase, the sugars change. Sucrose almost disappears and glucose and fructose dominate. If the glucose is in higher concentration, and as it has a lower solubility than fructose, crystals quickly form. Fructose-dominated honey remains fluid for longer but eventually will crystallise as the starches in the honey convert to glucose and crystallise. Crystallisation can be accelerated with pollen acting as a ‘seed’. So naturally crystallised honey is a sign of authentic honey.

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