Oh, Honey: Why the Honey We Buy in Stores Could be Fake

Food Safety News

Yes, there's another reason why the honey we buy in grocery stores across the country might not be the real stuff. Food Safety News tested more than 60 samples of honey and found that the majority were missing one crucial ingredient. And, technically speaking, honey isn't actually honey without it.

Pollen. This naturally occurring feature of honey adds nutrients and antioxidants, and also acts as a biological thumbprint. Without pollen it's impossible to figure out the origin of the honey and under which conditions it was produced. A sample of honey with pollen can yield such information as whether the honey contained blackberry or clover pollen, and whether the honey has been mixed. But a sample of honey without pollen lacks all identifying information.

In Food Safety News' tests of honey from grocery stores across the US, the majority of honey tested had been ultra filtered to the point that no trace of pollen could be found. And, according to the Food and Drug Administration, a product that doesn't contain pollen isn't honey.

Honey producers defend ultra filtering by claiming consumers want clear honey. But what this really points to is that the honey may come from questionable origins. Contamination of Chinese and Indian honey is documented, as is the illegal exportation of that honey into the US market.

The article points to some mind boggling statistics and makes another strong case for purchasing local honey. What do you think? Have you been unknowingly buying fake honey? I have. And I don't think I will again.

Read more: Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey at Food Safety News

Related: Honey Laundering: How to Avoid Buying Contaminated Honey

(Images: Flickr user Bothered by Bees licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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