Is your honey real honey?I came across this story today by Andrew Schneider, November 7, 2011 | Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey. This story states that three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what bees produce.

“The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”  The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.”

Here are some findings from the article that are alarming.

  • “Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”
  • “The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.”
  • “Golden Heritage, Wenger said, then carefully removes all pollen from the raw honey when it’s processed to extend shelf life, but says, “as we see it, that is not ultra-filtration.”

This article makes reference to the poor quality of honey that has been received in the past from China.

  • “Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.
This article really made me question how many bee farms are there in the United States. You used to see beehives and boxes along the highway in rural areas. These days, I do not see that many. Maybe there is a good reason for this.  Again, this article really made me think about the honey I purchase. Maybe it isn’t as healthy if it isn’t being sold in its natural, pollen state.
What other items are being put into our honey? An article published earlier this year,  “Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves” mentions antibiotics and other heavy metals. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what we are importing and consuming.

Picture Siona Karen