When honey isn’t honey

Thanks to my brother for sending this link:

Most Honey Sold in U.S. Grocery Stores Not Worth Its Name


And this one:

Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves (This one especially is a fascinating article–all about the illegal process of “honey laundering,” hiding the origins of the product.)

Bottom line essentially is that unscrupulous honey suppliers abroad (China and India mostly) filter out all the pollen from the honey they sell, which makes it all but impossible to track where it came from. Which means if it came from India, where FDA-banned antibiotics were used to try to stop a disease epidemic in their hives, or from China, where a significant number of beekeepers store their honey in lead-soldered barrels, you just…don’t really know. Let alone if it’s not even really HONEY but some other product cooked up with flavorings and sweeteners.

And there aren’t really any safeguards or enforceable laws to keep this from happening, either. It’s essentially unregulated. Which is good for the economy, right? Regulation is bad, non-regulation is good. So companies selling inferior and possibly unsafe products for a few pennies less a pound, imported from other countries, and squeezing beekeepers in the States out of business, is GOOD. Right? Erm…right?

No, not really right.

So basically–watch where you get your honey. Buy local if possible. Know where it comes from, or buy from a store you trust.


Posted on November 11, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I wrote about that second article not too long ago at the Booth: http://www.greenphonebooth.com/2011/08/honey-i-should-have-bought-more-honey.html

    But that first article, wow — I’m going to take a close look at that pollen report.

    A great reminder of the many benefits of keeping your food as local as possible!

  2. So lucky we have some great producers in our area!

  3. Agreed! I have had issues with the manner in which honey was “produced” and have always tried to buy “local” unheated etc honey. I did not know about the filtering of pollen or about the storing of honey in lead jars.
    thanks for the information!

  4. Betsy, how did I miss that? Thanks for linking!

    My folks used to be backyard beekeepers…it was quite the learning experience as a kid, seeing the honey shift in color and flavor from year to year depending on what had been blooming, watching my parents work with the hives and nets and stuff…very cool.

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