Honey is harvested as the bees make it, one drop at a time. To make a tablespoon of honey to pour over a hot buttered biscuit requires the full life’s work of 32 honey bees. Producing a jar of honey is the result of considerable effort by both the bees and their keeper. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of the appeal, reputation, and health benefits of honey to unscrupulously produce a lesser product and sell it as honey. They do this by adulterating the product by mixing in cheaper sweeteners or by altering the honey to hide its true origin.
In Andrew Schneider’s Food Safety News report, “Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey: Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins,” the investigator writes that pollen is being removed from honey to hide whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources. Honey is being produced in distant lands, shipped to intermediate countries, repackaged, and stripped of pollen to hide the true origin. According to Schneider, “Food scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.” Schneider explains that in the US the Food and Drug Administration says that a product that has been ultra-filtered and contains no pollen is not honey. One major honey packer describes ultra-filtration as “a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.” Unfortunately, the FDA isn’t checking honey to see if it contains pollen. Food Safety News purchased honey and had it tested for pollen. They found that three fourths of honey purchased at groceries or big box stores and all honey purchased at drug stores contained no pollen. All honey purchased at farmers markets and “natural” stores, however, contained the expected pollen. Read this informative report at http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/. In today’s photo, honey from late summer wildflowers and Arkansas Delta cotton flows in the Peace Bee Farm honey house. We appreciate those loyal customers who support the beekeeping tradition of producing real honey as the bees made it.--Richard