Honey is an important food supplement in the human diet because of its nutritional quality. Therefore, honey should be safe for human consumption. The purpose of this research was to evaluate physicochemical and microbiological properties of 64 honey samples. The physicochemical analysis (water content, hydroxymethylfurfural, electrical conductivity and diastase activity) showed that 95.31% of samples meet Croatian and European standards. Microbiological quality of tested samples was considered good with no pathogenic bacteria detected. In 34.38% of the samples, the yeast and mold count exceeded the limit established by legislation. The presence of yeasts was noted in 17 samples varying from 18 to 1300 CFU/g, whereas mold count ranged from 18 to 182 CFU/g. The study revealed that out of six genera of molds recovered, Cladosporium was the most frequent, followed by Alternaria, Penicillium, Mucor, Aureobasidium, and Stachybotrys. Considering that the majority of molds identified in this study are commonly found in bee hive environment and in digestive tract of honey bees, it can be concluded that the mold contamination of honey in this study derives mainly from primary sources. The presence of Stachybotrys sp. is an indicator of contamination that comes from secondary sources.
Due to continuous expansion of the world honey market and increasing awareness of consumers towards healthy food, the importance of quality control of honey has also grown. In respond to these demands, this study presents physicochemical and microbiological properties of different types of Croatian honey, with special emphasis laid on the identification of the present molds in incompatible samples. The results of this study provide useful data that Croatian honey has good level of quality and contribute to better understanding of the genera of molds present in the honey from this region.