Seventy polyfloral honeys including commercial samples obtained from supermarkets, harvested from apiaries and purchased in bulk were initially examined for total antibacterial activity. From each sample, numbers of aerobic mesophilic bacteria, total coliforms, moulds and yeasts were determined and the presence of Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Clostridium sulfite-reducers, Paenibacillus larvae and Bacillus spp. was investigated. Moisture content, pH and total acidity were also determined for all samples. Any honey diluted to concentrations from 75% to 1% (w/v) of full-strength honey showed total antibacterial activity. The numbers of aerobic mesophilic bacteria, moulds and yeasts were less than 10(3) cfu/g for all 70 samples. Faecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and Clostridium sulfite-reducers were not detected but P. larvae subspp. larvae, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus pumilus and Bacillus laterosporus were found among samples. For commercial, apiary and bulk honey the mean values for moisture content, pH and acidity, respectively, were 17.50%, 17.40% and 17.50%; 4.60, 4.10 and 4.20; and 18.30, 20.60 and 21 meq NaOH/kg. P. larvae was recovered from 35% of apiaries including hives in which the bees did not display symptoms of American foulbrood disease.