The limitations of direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) were shown with the example of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) quantitation in honey. An accurate analyte quantitation was impossible because the carbohydrate matrix partially degraded to the analyte in the ionization region. However, at a decreased DART temperature of 150 °C, the DART-MS screening was possible using two spiked reference samples. The influence of instrumental parameters on the composition of the DART mass spectra for HMF and carbohydrates was investigated. Also, first data on scanning surface analysis with DART-MS were obtained giving rise for further studies in this direction. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.