The second meeting of the ISO Technical Committee (ISO TC 34/SC 19), in charge of establishing the international standards for bee products, has taken place in Paris on 27th and 28th of June.

The scope of the Committee – that counts 36 participating members from different countries all over the world – is stated as follows:

Standardization of the whole process and circulation (supply chain) of all forms of bee products (honey, beeswax, royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis, bee larvae, bee bread, bee venom, etc.) including:

definitions, beekeeping practices, specifications, transportation, basic processing, requirement for testing methods and testing methods, storage, quality, etc.

Considering the steadily increasing global value of bee products market and the many final products where they are used, it’s easy to realize how important is the activity of this Committee in order to support international trade development, while protecting the ecological balance and the human health.

The Italian ambassadors at the Committee – under the flag of UNI, that represents ISO in Italy – are Giancarlo Quaglia (Managing Director of Floramo) for honey-related matters, and Alfredo Fachini (Scientific Director of B Natural) for propolis-related matters.


The agenda of this second meeting of the Committee has given an important attention to Propolis and has included the presentation – delivered by Nicola Volpi, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia – of an Italian Proposal on propolis test method.

The proposed method involves the determination of polyphenols in propolis by HPLC-MS. Such a method offers many advantages:

  1. is able to identify and quantify individual compounds present in propolis;
  2. is capable to differentiate among various propolis samples, which is useful for the screening of commercial products;
  3. can be applied for the characterization and for the identification of each propolis type;
  4. could allow to standardize propolis extracts quality according to the corresponding chemical profile obtained by HPLC-MS.

The meeting ended with the decision to create a dedicated Working Group in which Italy will be among the more relevant actors.