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Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

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.

The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

honey-without-pollen-food-safety-news1.jpgIn the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.

The National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion organization under USDA oversight, says the bulk of foreign honey (at least 60 percent or more) is sold to the food industry for use in baked goods, beverages, sauces and processed foods.  Food Safety News did not examine these products for this story.

Some U.S. honey packers didn’t want to talk about how they process their merchandise.

One who did was Bob Olney, of Honey Tree Inc., in Michigan, who sells its Winnie the Pooh honey in Walmart stores.  Bryant’s analysis of the contents of the container made in Winnie’s image found that the pollen had been removed.

Olney says that his honey came from suppliers in Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. “It was filtered in processing because North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear,” he said.

The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

However, most beekeepers say traditional filtering used by most will catch bee parts, wax, debris from the hives and other visible contaminants but will leave the pollen in place.

Ernie Groeb, the president and CEO of Groeb Farms Inc., which calls itself “the world’s largest packer of honey,” says he makes no specific requirement to the pollen content of the 85 million pounds of honey his company buys.

Groeb sells retail under the Miller’s brand and says he buys 100 percent pure honey, but does not “specify nor do we require that the pollen be left in or be removed.”

He says that there are many different filtering methods used by beekeepers and honey packers.

“We buy basically what’s considered raw honey. We trust good suppliers. That’s what we rely on,” said Groeb, whose headquarters is in Onsted, Mich.

Why Remove the Pollen?

Removal of all pollen from honey “makes no sense” and is completely contrary to marketing the highest quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.

food-safety-news-good-honey-sample.jpg“I don’t know of any U.S. producer that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,” Jensen said.

“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.

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.”

“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.

The Sioux Honey Association, who says it’s America’s largest supplier, declined repeated requests for comments on ultra-filtration, what Sue Bee does with its foreign honey and whether it’s u
ltra-filtered when they buy it. The co-op markets retail under Sue Bee, Clover Maid, Aunt Sue, Natural Pure and many store brands.

Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, the nation’s third largest packer, said his company takes every precaution not to buy laundered Chinese honey.

“We are well aware of the tricks being used by some brokers to sell honey that originated in China and laundering it in a second country by filtering out the pollen and other adulterants,” said Wenger, whose firm markets 55 million pounds of honey annually under its Busy Bee brand, store brands, club stores and food service.

“The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we won’t buy it, we won’t touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.”

He said his company uses “extreme care” including pollen analysis when purchasing foreign honey, especially from countries like India, Vietnam and others that have or have had “business arrangements” with Chinese honey producers.

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.

“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

Some of the foreign and state standards that are being instituted can be read to mean different things, Wenger said “but the confusion can be eliminated and we can all be held to the same appropriate standards for quality if FDA finally establishes the standards we’ve all wanted for so long.”

Groeb says he has urged FDA to take action as he also “totally supports a standard of Identity for honey. It will help everyone have common ground as to what pure honey truly is!”

What’s Wrong With Chinese Honey?

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.

To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.

Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.

The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.

Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.

In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.

By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.

Eventually, some honey packers became worried about what they were pumping into the plastic bears and jars they were selling. They began using in-house or private labs to test for honey diluted with inexpensive high fructose corn syrup or 13 other illegal sweeteners or for the presence of illegal antibiotics. But even the most sophisticated of these tests would not pinpoint the geographic source of the honey.

food-safety-news-Vaughn-Bryant-honey-tester.jpgFood scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.

Federal investigators working on criminal indictments and a very few conscientious packers were willing to pay stiff fees to have the pollen in their honey analyzed for country of origin. That complex, multi-step analysis is done by fewer than five commercial laboratories in the world.

But, Customs and Justice Department investigators told Food Safety News that whenever U.S. food safety or criminal experts verify a method to identify potentially illegal honey – such as analyzing the pollen – the laundering operators find a way to thwart it, such as ultra-filtration.

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.

And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.

FDA’s Lack of Action

The Food and Drug Administration weighed into the filtration issue years ago.

“The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey,” agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.

She went on to explain: “We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey. If we do detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey we will refuse entry.”

Many in the honey industry and some in FDA’s import office say they doubt that FDA checks more than 5 percent of all foreign honey shipments.

For three months, the FDA promised Food Safety News to make its “honey expert” available to explain what that statement meant.  It never happened. Further, the federal food safety authorities refused offers to examine Bryant’s analysis and explain what it plans to do about the selling of honey it says is adulterated because of the removal of pollen, a key ingredient.

Major food safety standard-setting organizations such as the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, the European Union and the European Food Safety Authority say the intentional removal of pollen is dangerous because it eliminates the ability of consumers and law enforcement to determine the actual origin of the honey.

“The removal of pollen will make the determination of botanical and geographic origin of honey impossible and circumvents the ability to trace and identify the actual source of the honey,” says the European Union Directive on Honey.

The Codex commission’s Standard for Honey, which sets principles for the international trade in food, has ruled that “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign matter. . .”  It even suggested what size mesh to use (not smaller than 0.2mm or 200 micron) to filter out unwanted debris — bits of wax and wood from the frames, and parts of bees — but retain 95 percent of all the pollen.

Food Safety News asked Bryant to analyze foreign honey packaged in Italy, Hungary, Greece, Tasmania and New Zealand to try to get a feeling for whether the Codex standards for pollen were being heeded overseas. The samples from every country but Greece were loaded with various types and amounts of pollen. Honey from Greece had none.

You’ll Never Know

In many cases, consumers would have an easier time deciphering state secrets than pinning down where the honey they’re buying in groceries actually came from.

The majority of the honey that Bryant’s analysis found to have no pollen was packaged as store brands by outside companies but carried a label unique to the food chain. For example, Giant Eagle has a ValuTime label on some of its honey. In Target it’s called Market Pantry, Naturally Preferred  and others. Walmart uses Great Value and Safeway just says Safeway. Wegmans also uses its own name.

Who actually bottled these store brands is often a mystery.

A noteworthy exception is Golden Heritage of Hillsboro, Kan. The company either puts its name or decipherable initials on the back of store brands it fills.

“We’re never bashful about discussing the products we put out” said Wenger, the company’s quality director. “We want people to know who to contact if they have questions.”

The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.

For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

food-safety-news-Sue-Bee-honey-ad.jpgOne of the customer service representatives said the contact address on two of the honeys being questioned was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is where Sioux Bee’s corporate office is located.

Jessica Carlson, a public relations person for Target, waved the proprietary banner and also refused to say whether it was Target management or the honey suppliers that wanted the source of the honey kept from the public.

Similar non-answers came from representatives of Safeway, Walmart and Giant Eagle.

The drugstores weren’t any more open with the sources of their house brands of honey. A Rite Aid representative said “if it’s not marked made in China, than it’s made in the United States.” She didn’t know who made it but said “I’ll ask someone.”

Rite Aid, Walgreen and CVS have yet to supply the information.

Only two smaller Pacific Northwest grocery chains – Haggen and Metropolitan Market – both selling honey without pollen, weren’t bashful about the source of their honey. Haggen said right off that its brand comes from Golden Heritage. Metropolitan Market said its honey – Western Family – is packed by Bee Maid Honey, a co-op of beekeepers from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Pollen? Who Cares?

Why should consumers care if their honey has had its pollen removed?

“Raw honey is thought to have many medicinal properties,” says Kathy Egan, dietitian at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.  ”Stomach ailments, anemia and allergies are just a few of the conditions that may be improved by consumption of unprocessed honey.”

But beyond pollen’s reported enzymes, antioxidants and well documented anti-allergenic benefits, a growing population of natural food advocates just don’t want their honey messed with.

There is enormous variety among honeys. They range in color from glass-clear to a dark mahogany and in consistency from watery to chunky to a crystallized solid. It’s the plants and flowers where the bees forage for nectar that will determine the significant difference in the taste, aroma and color of what the bees produce. It is the processing that controls the texture.

Food historians say that in the 1950s the typical grocery might have offered three or four different brands of honey.  Today, a fair-sized store will offer 40 to 50 different types, flavors and sources of honey out of the estimated 300 different honeys made in the U.S.. And with the attractiveness of natural food and the locavore movement, honey’s popularity is burgeoning. Unfortunately, with it comes the potential for fraud.

Concocting a sweet-tasting syrup out of cane, corn or beet sugar, rice syrup or any of more than a dozen sweetening agents is a great deal easier, quicker and far less expensive than dealing with the natural brew of bees.

However, even the most dedicated beekeeper can unknowingly put incorrect information on a honey jar’s label.

Bryant has examined nearly 2,000 samples of honey sent in by beekeepers, honey importers, and ag officials checking commercial brands off store shelves. Types include premium honey such as “buckwheat, tupelo, sage, orange blossom, and sourwood” produced in Florida, North Carolina, California, New York and Virginia and “fireweed” from Alaska.

“Almost all were incorrectly labeled based on their pollen and nectar contents,” he said.

Out of the 60 plus samples that Bryant tested for Food Safety News, the absolute most flavorful said “blackberry” on the label. When Bryant concluded his examination of the pollen in this sample he found clover and wildflowers clearly outnumbering a smattering of grains of blackberry pollen.

For the most part we are not talking about intentional fraud here. Contrary to their most fervent wishes, beekeepers can’t control where their bees actually forage any more than they can keep the tides from changing. They offer their best guess on the predominant foliage within flying distance of the hives.

“I think we need a truth in labeling law in the U.S. as they have in other countries,” Bryant added.

FDA Ignores Pleas

No one can say for sure why the FDA has ignored repeated pleas from Congress, beekeepers and the honey industry to develop a U.S. standard for identification for honey.

Nancy Gentry owns the small Cross Creek Honey Company in Interlachen, Fla., and she isn’t worried about the quality of the honey she sells.

“I harvest my own honey. We put the frames in an extractor, spin it out, strain it, and it goes into a jar. It’s honey the way bees intended,” Gentry said.

But the negative stories on the discovery of tainted and bogus honey raised her fears for the public’s perception of honey.

food-safety-news-honey-samples-tested.jpgShe spent months of studying what the rest of the world was doing to protect consumers from tainted honey and questioning beekeepers and industry on what was needed here. Gentry became the leading force in crafting language for Florida to develop the nation’s first standard for identification for honey.

In July 2009, Florida adopted the standard and placed its Division of Food Safety in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in charge of enforcing it.  It’s since been followed by California, Wisconsin and North Carolina and is somewhere in the state legislative or regulatory maze in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and others.

John Ambrose’s battle for a national definition goes back 36 years. He said the issue is of great importance to North Carolina because it has more beekeepers than any other state in the country.

He and others tried to convince FDA that a single national standard for honey to help prevent adulterated honey from being sold was needed. The agency promised him it would be on the books within two years.

“But that never happened,” said Ambrose, a professor and entomologist at North Carolina State University and apiculturist, or bee expert. North Carolina followed Florida’s lead and passed its own identification standards last year.

Ambrose, who was co-chair of the team that drafted the state beekeeper association’s honey standards says the language is very simple, ”Our standard says that nothing can be added or removed from the honey. So in other words, if somebody removes the pollen, or adds moisture or corn syrup or table sugar, that’s adulteration,” Ambrose told Food Safety News.

But still, he says he’s asked all the time how to ensure that you’re buying quality honey.  ”The fact is, unless you’re buying from a beekeeper, you’re at risk,” was his uncomfortably blunt reply.

Eric Silva, counsel for the American Honey Producers Association said the standard is a simple but essential tool in ensuring the quality and safety of honey consumed by millions of Americans each year.

“Without it, the FDA and their trade enforcement counterparts are severely limited in their ability to combat the flow of illicit and potentially dangerous honey into this country,” Silva told Food Safety News.

It’s not just beekeepers, consumers and the industry that FDA officials either ignore or slough off with comments that they’re too busy.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of more than 20 U.S. senators and members of Congress of both parties who have asked the FDA repeatedly to create a federal “pure honey” standard, similar to what the rest of the world has established.

They get the same answer that Ambrose got in 1975:  ”Any day now.”

—————-

See “Top Pollen Detective Finds Honey a Sticky Business” on Food Safety News.

© Food Safety News
  • Linda

    So, if I buy Harris Teeter brand organic honey, it should be good? You mentioned Harris Teeter as one of the ones tested that had no pollen and then said that organic should be good.
    Linda

  • John

    The absence of pollen in the honey will prove an inferior product, however the presence of pollen will not mean all is ok… I’m sure it is only a matter of time before the chinese crooks start purchasing foreign pollen to add to their chemical stews.

  • Ric from goose_poop_farm

    This is the exact reason I put in 3 hives in the orchard. know your farmer know your bees! We all have options of how far we want our food to travel.

  • Steve

    WOW! What a report!! Congrats to FSN for its support and testing and Andrew Schneider for carrying it out in depth.
    This is food system investigative journalism at it’s finest — exposing the dirty BIG secrets of industrialized agriculture — in this case a marketing model where “honey” that ISN’T honey is laundered through business-as-usual relationships via untraceable multiple brand names to a supermarket, restaurant, convenience store, drug store, fast food outlet, etc near you.
    The further fact that FDA knows all about it but minimally inspects is also the story behind all those dubious apples (arsenic in imported apple concentrate) pesticide-laden fruit, maple syrup (cane sugar), seafood, garlic, veggies and processed products coming in to the US from China and other exporters at super-low prices — fattening food corporation bottom lines but putting our honest farmers and producers out of business…
    So — Run, don’t walk, to your nearest local beekeeper (if there are any still around) and stock up on the Real Thing and taste the difference — and you’ll be much the healthier…
    And, oh…. BTW we NEED US bees for pollination purposes as well — our food supply depends on it. Now if an investigation would only pin down another major industrial ag malady –colony collapse disorder — while the usual subjects (pesticides, GMOs) go on and on with agribusiness as usual….

  • http://www.healthyfoodcoalition.org hhamil

    Please obtain the FDA “letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey” and then post it on this website.
    I am quite curious as to what it actually said.

  • Katie Kelly

    This was incredible. Can you please post a list of acceptable honey brands? Thank you.

  • LizBiz

    After reading this I called Burleson’s Honey in Waxahatchie, Texas because that’s the brand my SO brought home the other day.
    http://www.burlesons-honey.com/HoneyFactsandFigures/NutritionalInformation/tabid/65/Default.aspx
    The person I spoke to was interested in how quickly the above article was being read – she had just read it herself.
    Short Story: Burleson’s has pollen and has just been certified by True Source.
    http://www.truesourcehoney.com/
    It looks as if True Source will be my reference from now on. Once certified a honey supplier can put that info on their labels – so look for it.
    ~LB

  • Michael

    So Chinese honey “isn’t honey” because it’s cheaper that that made in the US. Makes sense.

    • JeopardyGeorge

      We’ll just change your name to Stupid, and you can be the guinea pig.

  • Sam

    Interesting, thank you.
    The FDA’s Codex Alimentarius Standard for Honey clearly states,
    “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign inorganic or organic matter”
    Here is a “citizen” (industry lawyer) petition to strike parts of it, including this: “Contaminants and Maximum levels for heavy metals and pesticide residues should be governed by U.S . law.”
    http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/06p0101/06p-0101-let0001-vol1.pdf

  • Tim

    This is a great article and thank you. I feel, though, it falls short of empowering the reader by not providing the results. Although I now have a list of what not to buy, that doesn’t directly imply what non-pollen-filtered honey I CAN buy. I’m only left with a fear.
    Please empower your readers by directing us to the results.
    Thank you,
    Tim

  • Charles

    @LizBiz – i did not see any mention of Burlesons honey on http://www.truesourcehoney.com. Could you post a link to that information?

  • Ken

    Of course the FDA, beholden to large corporations, has no real interest in developing a standard for honey since the corporations greatly increase their profits by getting cheap honey from abroad and by diluting it with corn syrup (etc). If a standard were developed, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that government regulation of the honey industry is responsible for colony collapse!

  • http://bit.ly/u65Ut4 aschneider

    Looking for unfiltered honey?
    FSN wishes it could provide that information. However, it would border in the impossible to test the estimated 1,100 different honeys that are sold in retail stores. We did the best we could by documenting which of the major brands we found in which the pollen was removed. Here is what I have been telling those who have been calling and emailing me today: The analysis for this story showed that in almost all cases, honey from local beekeepers, farmers markets and some natural food stores were loaded with the expected amount and variety of pollen. Also, the lab testing found that more than 70 percent of honey labeled as organic, contained pollen. But that is no guarantee that it’s actually organic. Good luck and buy local.

  • Amanda

    My kids are allergic to pollen. I’m happy to learn there are brands with the pollen so carefully filtered out. We will be buying those!

  • Steve

    Amanda — sorry to hear about your child’s food allergy. There’s a huge explosion of them these days… Why???
    For a deeper look at childhood allergies see this Ted Talk by Robyn O’Brien http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA

  • Betsy Bethel-McFarland

    Good information. I am just Jane Consumer. I don’t know anything about honey production. But I have read that honey is the only food that does not spoil. So, how exactly does filtration extend shelf life?

    • Raven Black

      It’s not entirely true that honey doesn’t spoil – hence mead, a fermented honey drink. It may be true that honey doesn’t spoil in the absence of other things (such as yeast and water), but that’s true of all food – spoilage is the result of bacteria and molds, after all, and those need moisture.

      So it’s possible that ultrafiltration takes out some yeast or bacteria particles. Not saying it’s so, just it’s not implausible nonsense.

  • Jennifer

    Amanda, my kids are allergic to pollen, too. Our pediatrician told us to give our kids a tablespoon of local honey every day to up their resistance and lessen their allergies. It works.

  • Allison Chase

    I have never before shopped for honey at CVS, Rite-Aid or Walgreen but I will now that I know 100% of trusted drugstores only carry the pure filtered honey to protect their customers from pollen other troublesome contaminants.

    • http://www.facebook.com/connie.c.cook Connie C Cook

      Ahhhh, it’s the pollen that you WANT to retain in the local honey.

      • http://twitter.com/combatTVgirl Stevie Masen

        Not necessarily; a person with a severe bee or pollen allergy can’t eat local honey, but can eat the filtered product.

        • Lola Aileen Vanslette

          Which is probably why they are allergic to the raw honey. In small amounts over time, the immune system kicks in and they can tolerate the real deal. I know, because I was one who was severely allergic, and overcame it. I was also allergic to strawberries and overcame it the same way.

  • Erica

    Allison Chase, if it doesn’t have pollen it (which, by the way is not a troublesome contaminant but instead a naturally occurring ingredient) then it’s simply not honey. You do know pollen, bees, and honey are necessary to our planet and consequently our well-being, right?

  • skaizun

    I’m still not getting it.
    Pollen identifies the source.
    Got it.
    Removing pollen (which may be an allergen to some people, but, of which the article only mentions the potentially, and unprovenm, if not folktale, positive aspects) is bad, only because the honey MAY contain harmful additives, which, without the pollen, can’t be positively traced to the source. Okay, but, can’t (and shouldn’t?) those contaminants be tested for, whether pollen is there or not? If it’s contaminated, then shouldn’t it simply be rejected and returned? Isn’t that the FDA’s job (at least, in America)? Does the public have the right to know (or care?) where the flour is coming from for their baked goods? I see that a lot of candy and pet products sold in American stores come from overseas. Far more people buy those than honey, yet I don’t hear an outcry for proof-of-origin for those ingredients (I’m not saying that isn’t a bad idea, but it would be rife with fraud and, in the end, pointless). And, maybe, consumers simply prefer a clearer product, tainted or not. ;)
    Believe me when I say that I’m an advocate for the bees and against contaminated foods, which seems to be on the rise, given the seemingly ever-increasing media reports. But, unless the FDA is falling asleep on the job, this strikes me as being much ado about nothing, not to mention causing an unnecessary panic, where none may exist.

  • Mike

    I hope that’s a joke, Allison. Filtered doesn’t mean “pure” if they are filtering out pollen to hide that the honey comes from a country that puts in antibiotics and heavy metals, which can’t be filtered out.

  • Rosemary

    Allison, I think you missed the point. You are trading pollen, which is natural and in the air we breathe, etc. for the potential presence of antibiotics and non-honey sweeteners in your “pure” filtered honey.

  • http://www.beefolks.com Lori Titus

    @Michael – Chinese honey has been shown, time and again, to be contaminated with pesticides and antibiotics, and cut with corn syrup. Because of their techniques, they were able to undercut US honey. So, yes – cheap Chinese honey is not real honey.
    @Betsy – The average US consumer is not educated with regards to the many forms of honey. A common misconception is that crystallized honey has “gone bad”. Solid particulates increase the liklihood of crystallization. Therefore, a standard practice by large honey packers is to filter out as much pollen and beeswax as possible. This is referred to as “extending the shelf life”.
    @Steve – yes, us local beekeepers still exist. :)

  • http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1011/101105chicago.htm Dave

    See the recent post on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement site. They got one of the big importers who admitted doing these things.

  • Renee

    @allison chase, you’re kidding, right?!?! I hope so because if that’s honestly what you got out of reading this article, I’m shocked. This is just more evidence of our corrupted food system. It goes far and wide. Scary.

  • Mike Suttles

    The FDA is not about food safety. It is about keeping their masters in big business making money no matter what the consequences t the public.

  • Sharon

    One more reason to buy local and support your local beekeepers. Most farmers markets have at least one stall selling local honey. Bonus: it tastes *way* better!

  • http://gunnells.blogspot.com david
  • Jim

    If your honey does crystallize, just let the jar sit in a sink of hot water for a few minutes and it will liquefy again. Best way to avoid “not-honey” is to buy from a local beekeeper. The bonus being that most of the beekeepers I’ve met have been really interesting people too.

  • http://www.healthyfoodcoalition.org Harry Hamil

    Please obtain the FDA “letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey” and then post it on this website.
    I am quite curious as to what it actually said.

  • M

    I agree with all those who comment to purchase honey from your local beekeeper. Here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, local honey is abundant, which I am so grateful for! Nothing but local honey will do. And I agree with Jim that most beekeepers I’ve met are interesting people, too!

  • Maureen O’Brien

    Yes Sharon ! Why spend money at ANY of those corporate retailers when you can buy DELICIOUS healthy LOCAL honey at your farmer’s market! All that makes up natural , unprocessed honey nature puts in with help from the honey bees is GOOD FOR YOU . Do some research, yes local honey HELPS people who suffer with local airborn pollen allergies. You build up immunity . Honey is also great for soothing sore throats, or coughs. Those bees who do all the work to pollinate the world’s plants, and human’s agriculture are suffering and we need to SUPPORT our local beekeepers and especially ORGANIC beekeepers because otherwise there is use of antibiotics and other chemicals in the hives which ends up IN the honey . A good documentary to watch is QUEEN OF THE SUN , which informs about the current crisis of colony collapse disorder in beehives across the world. KNOW your farmer! KNOW your food ! and I agree beekeepers are quite interesting people …

  • nk

    so buy your honey from a local beekeeper and you can forget your worries about honey

  • JimW

    Just on3e more reason why “organic” is an expensive joke. Want good honey, buy from your local beekeepeer. ‘Organic’ provides zero assurance of quality.

  • Rick

    That’s why I go to farmers markets. Usually the beekeepers are the most fun to talk to and I love their product.

  • Mark

    @Amanda – I’m allergic to pollen (and tons of other things) and have been my entire 40 years of life. I was always told to consume locally grown honey to help build my body’s immunities.
    @Allison – you’re missing the point. Troublesom contaminates – yes, remove them! Pollens: Keep them, they have health benefits in addition to causing the honey’s origin to be knowable.

  • Jen

    Hm…so I guess that means I could eat most of it. sad. I don’t like honey anyway (apparently the one I did have was real honey) but that is ridiculous. I am highly allergic to bee pollen so I have always (except once) stayed away from honey for that reason but now I know a better one! Cheers for the well researched article.

  • National Honey Board
  • linda Lehmann

    we keep bees, and have 9 hives.we can not tell you what the honey is coming from, but we can just guess @ it. we have cooperation from the farmers that work the land around us. and we try hard to keep our honey free from contamination. after all we do it for us, and the extra we sell.

  • http://vimeo.com/29419200 Brilana

    Steve: Dan Rather reported on the link between systemic pesticides and colony colapse. You can view the video here: http://vimeo.com/29419200 or youtube search Dan Rather Bee Aware. Once again revealing that our government agencies let products go to market without credible, scientific-backed reports.

  • http://bit.ly/u65Ut4 Andrew Schneider

    Looking for unfiltered honey?
    FSN wishes it could provide that information. However, it would border in the impossible to test the estimated 1,100 different honeys that are sold in retail stores. We did the best we could by documenting which of the major brands we found in which the pollen was removed. Here is what I have been telling those who have been calling and emailing me today: The analysis for this story showed that in almost all cases, honey from local beekeepers, farmers markets and some natural food stores were loaded with the expected amount and variety of pollen. Also, the lab testing found that more than 70 percent of honey labeled as organic, contained pollen. But that is no guarantee that it’s actually organic. Good luck and buy local.

  • kirsten houseknecht

    even if you are violently allergic to pollen…. it is highly UNlikely that consuming it will harm you. at least in honey. if someone is allergic to “pollen” they are usually reacting to it in their nose and airways… which unless you are snorting honey you are not getting.
    it is pretty well proven that for MOST allergy sufferers consuming real honey with pollen (locally grown so its the kind you are reacting to) helps allergies. probably by allowing your body to slowly acclimate.
    one warning however.. if you are allergic to a specific plant, not just “inhaled pollen” but the plant… avoid eating honey made from that plant if possible.

  • Connie

    Never put honey in the microwave or the refrigerator. It is best stored in a nice warm place. All honey over time can have some crystalization but as Jim stated, placing it in a sink or pan of hot water will restore it to it’s liquid state.
    I am a small berry farm operation using organic growing methods with several colonies of honey bees. They are indeed one of the most amazing insects and the only insect that makes food.
    We owe much to the tiny honey bee. Do you know that a single bee will only make 1 teaspoon of honey in it’s lifetime and that it makes hundreds of trips out to gather the nectar to make that teaspoon.
    Raw honey has numerous health benefits. It’s an excellent wound healer, good for coughs, skin and hair, an energizer and full of antioxidants. Eating local raw honey is wonderful for allergies, a good digestive aid and it’s full of vitamins and minerals. I use honey on a bee sting and it never swells or gets irritated.
    Here are some honey and bee facts for you.

  • georgina

    I understand that pasturization of the honey renders the pollen and any residual parts of the bee non-allergenic. In other words – if you have pollen allergies,or are allergic to bee stings, eat only honey that has been pasturized.

  • julian entree

    For information of Andrew Schneider and all readers of this report, Indian honey is no more banned in Europe…! some facts are misleading to public at large….!

  • tawster

    Allergic to pollen? Honey (has pollen) should not harm you… unless you snort it. Folks with pollen allergies are allergic to “inhaling” pollen, not ingesting it.

  • Rick

    I expect those who take aim at the FDA are most likely off the mark. The FDA has limited resources, and given the higher priority needs with respect to dangerous foods and drugs it is no wonder that testing honey has a low priority nor is there any reason to think it is in big industry’s pocket on this one. The reaction should not be to condemn the FDA but to ask Congress to give it more money to do the jobs it should be doing, especially when it comes to testing foods at the border. (No, I don’t work for or know anybody at the FDA, but I have worked in government and know that most federal bureaucrats work quite hard, with some often putting in uncompensated overtime, to provide the nation with the services it needs. But when agencies are overworked and underfunded they will fall short of their mission in many areas.)

  • http://www.t.isgood.ca/farmers/bee-queen-honey/ t.isGood.ca

    Best thing you can do is start keeping a hive or two yourself. Next best thing is to find a local beekeeper in your area and by direct.
    Some questions worth asking your beekeeper:
    Do you ever have to restrict when the bees fly? For example if you know neighbouring farms are spraying?
    Is there a particular treatment you use for mites?
    Do you keep all your bees on a single property? Do you bring your bees to other farms for pollination services?
    Also, check that it’s raw and ask about any techniques they perform to keep it from crystallizing.
    See my link above for the rationale behind these questions.

  • Michael

    Thanks for a well researched and written article. I started keeping bees as a hobby, and to improve my garden’s production. Once people found out that I raise bees, they wanted some of my honey. Now I cannot possibly keep up with the demand. It tastes so much better than processed honey, and there is a great deal of variety from one location to the next, and from one season to the next. It is just a wonderful experience (and experiment) for all of us.
    I do have one suggestion regarding a strategy to determine the source of the honey that lacks pollen. This goes back to my days as a scientist working in the environmental industry cleaning up hazardous waste sites. We would occasionally use this strategy VERY effectively to determine the source of a contaminant, and therefore who was responsible for that contaminant. Stick with me here as I get all geeky on you. . .
    All molecules (such as sugar, pesticides, proteins, enzymes etc) consist of atoms. Many of these atoms have several different isotopes (that just means that different atoms of the same element, say, carbon or mercury, have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei). Now, the key is to determine the RATIO of various isotopes of several different elements occurring in a sample. By looking at the ratio of the isotopes of several different elements side-by-side using certain types of graphs and diagrams, you can effectively see a “fingerprint” or “signature” in that sample.
    Using this, you can very often determine the original source of the atoms making up the sample. This is a very abbreviated explanation, but it will have to do here in the space available.
    We used this strategy to determine the original source of petroleum contaminants in groundwater. Or it could be used to determine the original source (sometimes even the specific mine) of lead contaminants, PCB contaminants, or even the source of the lead in a bullet that was used in a crime.
    My point is that good hard science, when applied properly, could most likely trace the source of honey that has no pollen. . . just by using some money to count some protons (which is easier than most people think). It is most likely possible to find the source of the honey if someone really wants to.

  • Lauren

    It’s still a dilemma to me whether it is safer healthwise to buy certified organic honey that is filtered(I have bought Organic Busy Bee, one of the ones tested and mentioned in this article) and be confident the honey is free of pesticides or to purchase local raw honey that is not organic. I live in an area dominated by agriculture and from I have learned about the tons of pesticides used on crops locally, I am not sure I want honey from hives that have been placed in local fields.

  • alan foos

    And whoever really thinks that you can buy real food off the shelves in the United States has been using the wrong brand of toothpaste and drinking the wrong water. Oh, yeah…

  • TJP

    Very fascinating article, if you’re into protecting the integrity of your food. We use Sue Bee, one of the brands mentioned, which claims to be “Product of U.S.A.” and “Packed by Sioux Honey Ass’n” but doesn’t say anything about whether the honey was actually produced in the US. Now I have to wonder. The honey is extremely clear, so I’d have to assume it doesn’t have pollen.

  • sabiha1

    I have tried Sidr honey under the brand Goldy Honey from Pakistan.It is organic.It is really GOOD.You can order it from their website and get it tested.

  • Minstrel

    LizBiz,
    Your reliance on the truesourcehoney website ought to be with a grain of salt. Eric Wenger, listed as the chairman of the board of truesourcehoney, is also listed in this article as director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, which DOES filter out pollen although he professes that it is to extend the shelf life of the honey. It is unnecessary; I remember reading years ago about honey found in the pyramids in Egypt that was still viable — how is that for shelf life?

  • Lisa K

    Michael, the examination of isotopes within honey might work, however it might be prohibitively expensive on such a large scale. I would think they would use your method, which as you say has been used for ages in other areas of enquiry, if it had been deemed cost-effective. It’s too bad things cost money, or the FDA could do all sorts of good things.
    Where can one find information about honey standards in other countries, particularly European countries?

  • joel

    Great article! Informative and interesting follow up discussion, too. One thing I am not getting though is why put antibiotics in honey? It has to be costlier than not putting them in.

  • http://photo-journ.com John Le Fevre

    This is incredible. How hard can it be to have a standard that says honey contains nothing else but honey? Not having such a clearly defined standard benefits who? Clearly someone with more pull than a few senators and the growers.

  • BugMan

    The FDA is a huge government bureaucracy, which IMHO should be phased out and replaced with, over time, something more like a Consumer Reports. It cannot do the job of making us safer. It’s up to us to take on the responsibility of knowing where our food comes from. Know the farmer, know your food.

  • WoodsMan

    One company, Harris Teeter, whom I worked for in a management capacity know full well the honey it sells comes from Chinese suppliers but their main interest is their bottom line. Don’t fall for their advertising spin folks. Buy your honey from small dealers and you won’t get poisoned with Chinese chemicals.

  • Linda

    I know I’m focusing on a tiny little bit of a very large article, but KFC and McDonald’s call it “honey sauce” at least local to me. There is no attempt to cover it up that this may contain honey, but it is mostly corn syrup and water.

  • Bryan Paschke

    General comments: Want the best honey which will help reduce allergies in your area? Buy directly from the beekeepers or jars with a local beekeeper’s address on it (some of us DO sell through local groceries and other stores). If you’re suspicious, make an appointment to come see the beekeeper’s facilities. Many/most of us are proud of our hives and are happy to show ‘em off. Just remember that most beekeepers are busy people and it may take a while before they can arrange a suitable time.
    @Michael: No, Chinese honey isn’t safe honey, or, indeed, honey at all because they adulterate it with HFCS and other versions of sugar water. It’s not SAFE honey because they allow the use of pesticides we don’t allow here due to safety reasons and because of the antibiotics they use and don’t worry about getting into the sold honey.
    As a beekeeper, I will tell you that I DO use sugar feeders and antibiotics as needed, but NEVER when I have supers on for human consumption. The feeder comes off, a bit of a wait occurs (a couple days), the super for collecting my rewards goes on.
    In some other countries, they will use the sugar feeders and the antibiotics then process the entire hive at the end of the season, not just supers specifically set aside for human consumption.
    @Betsy Bethel-McFarland: The pollen acts as nucleation sites for the formation of crystals. Consumers in the US generally don’t like crystallized honey and will reject it. No pollen = longer before crystallization occurs. Want to remove the crystals in your honey? Warm it gently in a water bath or the microwave.

  • Josh Fletcher

    Always buy “non-pasteurized” natural honey and you won’t have a problem. If it gets pasteurized, it essentially turns to HFC syrup!

  • StephanieR

    “I expect those who take aim at the FDA are most likely off the mark. The FDA has limited resources, and given the higher priority needs with respect to dangerous foods and drugs it is no wonder that testing honey has a low priority nor is there any reason to think it is in big industry’s pocket on this one. ”
    @Rick You are kidding, right? How about you take a moment to go look up examples of the FDA’s ‘high priority’ list that they are rigorous about? I mean, they swoop down with SWAT teams and drawn weapons for these bad guys!
    Who am I talking about? Big drug dealers? No…raw milk farmers and distributors. Including many, many farms with decades long records of not a single complaint of illness.
    The FDA is a fraud, protecting those big interests who are undeserving and unneeding of protection and throwing the little guy with the real goods under the bus. Read up on how they went about handling the safety testing regarding GMO foods…oh, wait! They didn’t!
    Their ‘priorities’ are guided by big business/big pharma/big ag/big gov.
    It’s a regular orgy.
    I applaud this article on honey. Our food sovereignty is seriously under attack and we must stand up together or fall apart, together.

  • Michael Pravlik

    I am a small-scale beekeeper. I use no chemical treatments in my hives, and am very careful about choosing locations for my girls. There is no way you can completely isolate them from the chemicals in the environment, but I do the best I can to reduce their exposure. The honey produced is in great demand. I have a waiting list. It is not heat treated, simply drained through a filter to remove bee parts, wax, and other debris. As for the allergy claim, it is actually helping one of the neighbors’ children with her pollen allergy.
    If you are serious about finding local honey, ask around. When you find a beekeeper, ask what kind of management style he/she uses. Most use some kind of antibiotics and/or mite treatments, but there are some of us around who don’t. Do your research. Just as there are many types of flowers, so too are there many flavors of honey.

  • http://www.homesellerme.com Kristen Wheatley

    Wow! Thank you for this in depth look. This explains a lot. Several years ago, I bought some honey from a discount store (labelled from India.) It tasted so nasty, I ended up throwing it out. Now I know why. We are very fortunate here in Maine to have a lot of small, local producers. We now buy all of our honey from Tony’s Honey out of Buckfield Maine. The taste difference when compared to grocery store honey is incredible. It is also so much sweeter, that you end up using less, so there really isn’t a greater cost for the better honey.
    StephanieR is right, we all need to stand up together to protect our food sovereignty. Big producers certainly do not have our best interests at heart and those charged with overseeing the food supply are either inept, seriously underfunded, or bought and paid for.

  • Valarie Weinhaus

    Thanks for such a thorough and complete report. Good work!

  • mike

    What nk says, a thousand times.
    If you buy honey, buy it from a local beekeeper. If you don’t think there are any, visit a local farmer’s market or health food store and prepare to be surprised.
    If you aren’t allergic to it, honey has many amazing health properties.
    If you are allergic to it, why even eat it? opt for another healthy alternative, maple syrup. Why eat heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides and corn syrup if you don’t have to?

  • http://foodsafetynews.com aschneider

    JOEL,
    The antibiotics you’re questioning came from in massive infestation of of the Chinese beehives which destroyed millions of colonies a decade or more ago. It was stopped when the hives were heavily dosed with the illegal-to-use-in-food Indian antibiotic.
    a

  • Gerard

    As a beekeeper from a long long line of beekeepers, this type of behavior absolutely disgusts me. Simply straining with an 80 mesh cloth can remove the undesirable “junk” from honey. Letting it sit for a week or two will allow most larger particles to float to the top. Either of these two methods, though timely for the second leave enough particulate to allow the identification of the honey. Any seasoned beekeeper knows what this residue looks like. Some of the particulate is wax, a tiny part parts of parts of bee parts, and a substance the bees use as glue called propolis which the bees gather from some trees and buds of flowers. In some cases parts of the cocoon can be present. These items can add a slight additional taste to the honey. Water content and time the bees spend drying and reducing the sugars can effect the flavor also. The removal of these is moronic in my beekeeper opinion.

  • Jon

    Alaskan Honey ! yup, nothing but wild organic flowers and such. No auto carbon dioxide,no heating oil soot, no lawn or farm insecticides or fertilizers, no polluted rivers,lakes or ponds; Just mother nature under Mount McKinnley with every wild flower and shrub and tree. I do have to put the hives 15 feet up trees to keep the grizzly and black bears away. And always we have big guns on our hip in case of the unthinkable bear encounter. But it’s well worth it. My lovely wife eats one quart a week of the stuff. I guess that is why she always gets her way, Full of vim and vigor. Now we know a little more why we go to such ends just to have real honey. Aside from just loving the bees, we are eating something that is honest and true. It sells for $40 dollars a quart. To bad my wife plans to eat every last drop this year. mum, so good.

  • Laturb

    @skaizun writes…
    ‘But, unless the FDA is falling asleep on the job, this strikes me as being much ado about nothing, not to mention causing an unnecessary panic, where none may exist.’
    That’s such a relief you say that. I shall go out right now and buy as much honey from Walmart, Wallgreens, and Rite-Aid as possible, just so I can get a march on all those other pesky shoppers who read you comment, and who might get there before me.

  • http://www.guerillabeekeepers.com GuerillaBeek

    Concerning organic honey, there is currently no U.S. organic standard for domestically produced honey. If your honey is labeled ‘organic’ it was not produced in the United States. We only impose an organic standard on imported honeys, and even then we’re only taking the word of the manufacturer.
    Honeybees will travel up to 5 *miles* to find forage. In very few places in the world will the beekeeper knows the provenance of the land for a 5 mile radius around the hives. An ‘organic’ standard for honey is meaningless.

  • http://www.gaia-back-to-the-garden.com Rayne Tsering

    Beware all of the mainstream focus on bad honey sold in the stores. Yes, it’s garbage, but the real reason for this focus on bad honey is to pass laws requiring testing, which of course small, local, farms producing RAW honey won’t be able to afford, and you can kiss raw honey goodbye. Slowly taking away our healthy foods one at a time by creating a problem, TO GET A REACTION, so that they can provide the SOLUTION. Which is never in our favor. Every healing food is being taken away one at a time “for our safety”. If you people let this continue, there will come a time when your private hives, and gardens are considered a public threat.
    keep in mind that most of the honey in stores that is labeled “raw” has still been heated above 97 degrees during extraction. At 97 degrees the enzymes die off, and the honey is ruined. In the hives, when the temp starts rising too high, the bees will carry water, and fan the honey to keep it cool. If they are unable to keep it below 97 degrees, and the enzymes die, the bees won’t even eat it. It becomes useless to them unless they are starving. One of the major benefits of eating truly raw honey is the healing enzymes. Heated honey is toxic, and that’s all you will ever get from the FDA.
    All of you need to realize that you cannot trust big corporations to provide you with healthy food. Buy it locally, organically, and RAW! Demanding that the gov fix this is like a prisoner demanding better conditions in a prison. Even when the conditions are improved, he is still a prisoner. Step out of the prison by buying from small, local, organic farms, or grow it yourself. These people who are demanding that the FDA get involved are only going to get all our healthy food rights taken away because the small local farms cannot afford to do what the laws require. Please realize that all food safety issues have involved large corporations, and never small farmers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      Interesting point, never thought of the reactionary angle. But buying and eating completely raw and unprocessed products carries plenty of its own risks. In fact some of them are very high. You DO know how and why the process of pasteurization came about in the first place, right? And many times, people will not bother to educate themselves about the options, they’ll just buy in to the ‘natural’ or ‘unprocessed’ or ‘raw’ label without finding out whether their particular demographic might be put at risk by using that particular product. I myself usually look for the purest form of a food I can find, but in some cases, I will go with pasteurization over pure, because the risks outweigh the benefits.

  • mrothschild

    As the story points out, the honey bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen, so why would there be any public interest in regulations requiring testing for small, local farms producing raw honey? There appears to be no problem with local honey that requires any sort of solution.
    The honey story, of course, primarily involves food fraud, not food safety (although certainly if you don’t know where food is coming from, or what’s in it, there could be questions of food safety).
    But as to your contention that food safety issues never involve small farmers, the fact is that food safety involves safe management, regardless of size. Here are a few examples of food safety issues involving small food producers over the past year:
    Sally Jackson artisanal cheese, Washington state: Eight ill from E. coli O157:H7
    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm237381.htm
    Tiny Greens Organic Sprouts, Illinois: 140 ill with Salmonella poisoning from sprouts. http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/i4512i-/021011/
    Jaquith Strawberry Farm: One dead, 16 ill from strawberries contaminated with E. coli O157:H7
    http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2011/08/1_death_16_illnesses_traced_to.html
    Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, Idaho: 25 ill from sprouts contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis
    http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/sprouts-enteritidis0611/070611/
    Larry Schultz Organic Farm, Minnesota: Six cases of Salmonella poisoning from eggs
    http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm276901.htm

  • Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

    When I started to read this article I figured it would say that most honey sold in grocery stores was really high fructose corn syrup. Instead, I was told that pollen free honey was not honey because without pollen the ORIGIN of the honey is difficult or impossible to determine. Am I reading this right? In addition, I am told that REMOVING pollen from honey is ADULTERATING the honey.
    Parts is parts and honey is honey. If you want the “beneficial” pollen in your honey without having to pay $40 a quart, do this: Catch about a dozen honeybees. Using tweezers and your nosehair sissors snip off their little pollen sacs, mash up the sacs and stir the mash into your jar of Walmart honey and voila-real honey because it has pollen in it. Oops, still don’t know where it came from.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      Sarcasm is so effective NOT, you just have to buy the good stuff and pay attention to what you buy. AND NO it is not $40 a quart.

  • Rachael

    Why not put an INSANE tariff on ALL imported foods. Insane like 5,000%. Then offer a tariff reduction to ‘Normal’ levels of tariff when ALL importers can provide independent proof by FDA approved testing centers for EVERYTHING they want to import. Problem Solved plus FDA approval of testing centers should have a quarterly update cost. Why the HELL should we as a country pay to fight them, make THEM pay to sell here.

  • http://foodsafetynews.com Andrew Schneider

    JOEL,
    The antibiotics you’re questioning came from in massive infestation of of the Chinese beehives which destroyed millions of colonies a decade or more ago. It was stopped when the hives were heavily dosed with the illegal-to-use-in-food Indian antibiotic.
    a

  • Ron

    I would have like to see more information from the honey packers that would allow me to understand why they would filter out the pollen but that angle was not presented in this article by Andrew. This story is no different than others out there…there are two sides to every story. To get the real picture and a balanced view of what is really going on, you have to do the research yourself and see what the other side has to say. I did and what I found made me question Andrew’s motives. http://www.aginfo.net/index.cfm/event/report/id/Line-on-Agriculture-20581 This story balanced the scales for me after I read it and listened to the audio. I would suggest you do the same.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      It was plainly stated that the pollen in many cases is filtered out so that it cannot be traced and therefore restricted!

  • Lauren

    After reading several websites discussing the ridiculous farce of USDA organic labelled honey, I can tell you I will never buy the stuff again!! That is downright maddening.
    So I’m still stuck with trying to find honey that isn’t chock full of the pesticides they put on the orchards around here, which raises the question if honey is even good for you to eat if it is full of the same chemicals we are pouring onto our crops?
    Furthermore, I am wondering if there is scientific fact behind all the hype about the beneficial enzymes in raw honey. Is it really significantly different that honey that has been heated? I use honey a lot in cooking so it seems most of the enzymes will be destroyed anyway.
    Sorry to be a little off topic, but I was hoping someone in this discussion would have information (backed by science) on the benefits of raw honey or just honey in general. Or am I better off just eating organic sugar? If there even is such a thing… sheesh!
    Thanks in advance.

  • Ingrida K

    I grew up in Lithuania where most of my family were and still are farmers. I can say that probably every family there has someone who has some kind of farm or big garden growing their own food. We always had fresh food straight from the garden and have to say that even foods labeled organic in the stores in the U.S. don’t even come close to the taste of real fresh food. Maybe a big part has to do with the food being frozen before they bring to the shelf. Bottom line if you can do local farmers market it’s the way to go. Even if you can’t really know how organic the food is it is definitely more fresh and has much more vitamins than previously frozen foods.
    I love honey and will ALWAYS buy ONLY raw. I assume most eat honey for the health benefits it has to offer. Centuries ago they used it as antibiotic ointment to heal wounds and sore throats. I just had a spoon the other day because my throat was killing me and as soon as I took it the pain was relieved right away. Even my little kids enjoy it in their tea every morning where I add some Chia seeds too but even more so on a toast with some milk. I guess it’s more Eastern European thing and it was a perfect snack for our family after dinner since no ice cream was around (thanks God).
    Buying processed for me is the same as buying food from a box or a can which I would do only if I have no other choice.

  • Sarah

    Pollen is not a food allergen; it is an environmental allergen, meaning that you breathe it in. If you have pollen allergies, you are being exposed to airborne pollen released from plants around you. Buying honey with the pollen removed will not reduce your pollen allergies. In fact, consuming *local* honey (meaning the bees are feasting on the same local plants that you are reacting to) has been shown numerous times to actually reduce pollen allergic reactions. Buying heavily-processed, ultra-strained honey does not protect you. It can actually remove a valuable source of protection.
    As for where to buy honey from accountable sources – the article says it; the comments say it – buy local. Talk to your food producer. Interestingly enough, we haven’t seen that big of a change in our grocery budget, even though we are increasing our locally produced and organic consumption. We have gotten creative with our food purchases and changed some of our eating habits. We instituted one vegetarian day (at least we did until the husband came home with a 5 point elk last week). We eat hunted meat when we can, buy in bulk when we can’t – half a steer from a local rancher. We stock up when quality organic brands go on sale. In some cases, we are simply eating less, which is good for our wallets and our waistlines. In the end, we are eating better, supporting local businesses – which makes a significantly larger positive impact on our economy – and feeling better about where our money goes. It’s not always easy to be aware of where your food comes from, but you do the best with what you know, and you keep learning when the opportunities come up.
    Best of health.

  • J Thomas

    I used to know a small American beekeeper who told me a little about how he did things. He’d buy corn syrup and put it out for his bees. The bees would suck it up and take it back to their hives. He said they really, really liked it. He figured it was really honey because it came from bees.
    I didn’t think it was really honey because it was corn syrup. But I didn’t want to argue with him.
    Now, if you buy honey from China, it might be mostly corn syrup that’s never been exposed to a bee. And it might be full of antibiotics (which keep diluted corn syrup from fermenting) and such. And it might have pesticides which are illegal here, but which reduce contamination by flies and cockroaches. And it’s definitely subsidized by the chinese government. Do you care about that last? They basicly pay you money to buy stuff from them instead of from somebody else. You get cheap products. They get jobs. Everybody wins! Somehow China winds up with all the money, but you got cheap stuff while you had money to buy it with.
    But you don’t get to choose whether to buy honey from China. Unless you know who collected it, any honey you buy could be corn syrup from China. Or corn syrup from somewhere else.
    And as John points out in the second comment, if we test for pollen then the smugglers will add the pollen we’re looking for to their corn syrup.
    My conclusion is that if you can’t tell the difference between real honey and corn syrup, buy cheap corn syrup instead. Why pay extra for corn syrup from china that’s labeled honey, when you can get it cheap here and put your own honey label on it?
    Why buy fake honey? If you want real honey, try to get real honey. Otherwise just forget it.

  • Mary Rothschild

    As the story points out, the honey bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen, so why would there be any public interest in regulations requiring testing for small, local farms producing raw honey? There appears to be no problem with local honey that requires any sort of solution.
    The honey story, of course, primarily involves food fraud, not food safety (although certainly if you don’t know where food is coming from, or what’s in it, there could be questions of food safety).
    But as to your contention that food safety issues never involve small farmers, the fact is that food safety involves safe management, regardless of size. Here are a few examples of food safety issues involving small food producers over the past year:
    Sally Jackson artisanal cheese, Washington state: Eight ill from E. coli O157:H7
    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm237381.htm
    Tiny Greens Organic Sprouts, Illinois: 140 ill with Salmonella poisoning from sprouts. http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/i4512i-/021011/
    Jaquith Strawberry Farm: One dead, 16 ill from strawberries contaminated with E. coli O157:H7
    http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2011/08/1_death_16_illnesses_traced_to.html
    Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, Idaho: 25 ill from sprouts contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis
    http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/sprouts-enteritidis0611/070611/
    Larry Schultz Organic Farm, Minnesota: Six cases of Salmonella poisoning from eggs
    http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm276901.htm

  • Jean DIJoseph

    Had no idea about any of the ifo you provided in this
    article. My friend will be greatly interested in reading
    this. She is honey fanatic and buys it in large quantities
    at Costco. Thank you so much for this information.

  • Mary

    The brand of honey, YS, is a thick, cream color. It is organic, unfiltered and raw. Do you know why this honey is the consistency and color it is?

  • Linda

    @Woodsman
    I shop at Harris Teeter and Earth Fare. I guy organic products from them often. Should I not buy any of their organic products?
    As far as buying local honey, I have the concern of my daughter’s peanut/tree nut allergy. Boiled peanuts are abundant here, especially at places where you would buy local honey. Also, I have no way to know if the jars are reused and what they have had in them. I know, seems extreme, but with a deadly allergy, you have to be extreme.

  • Johna Delano

    I’ve been buying Sue Bee “Raw” honey because it was the only brand that tasted even close to the honey I grew up with.What brands are recommended if a person has no local beekeepers nearby?

  • Lee

    Rachel’s comment:
    Why not put an INSANE tariff on ALL imported foods. Insane like 5,000%. Then offer a tariff reduction to ‘Normal’ levels of tariff when ALL importers can provide independent proof by FDA approved testing centers for EVERYTHING they want to import. Problem Solved plus FDA approval of testing centers should have a quarterly update cost. Why the HELL should we as a country pay to fight them, make THEM pay to sell here.

    Rachel, you do know we are the world’s LARGEST EXPORTER of food, don’t you? There is an old saying: ‘don’t cut off your nose to spite your face’.
    If we put large tariffs on imported food (which, by the way, would violate every trade treaty we have signed and GATT would slap a prohibitive fine on us) then the other countries will simply do the same on those items we export to them, and then nothing gets solved.
    Better to just publicize the issue and let the local honey producers who can sell what this site suggests we buy, do so.

  • rod

    It’s real honey. I could care less if it has pollen in it or not. As long as i’m not consuming any toxins or hearing about a honey epidemic, i’m fine. This sounds like a protest against foreign honey producers selling their product and putting out US makers. If US could make it cheap and sell it cheap we wouldn’t have the extent of the problems we have now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      So the US should do like China and pay their workers nothing and enslave their children so we can produce it cheap too?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      You seem to be missing one of the points of the article – that if the pollen is removed from the honey, the source of the honey cannot be identified. And if the source of the honey is China, it is highly likely to be contaminated with the toxins you say you want to avoid. The food value of the pollen is a separate issue, a red herring. And no one want herring in their honey. ^_^

  • C Peter G

    I will buy honey only from a beekeeper. I have purchased honey from the Rhinebeck [NY] Farmers’ Market recently. The honey is even labelled as to what kind of plant it is collected from. I prefer buckwheat because of its deep enchanting color and heavy taste. The only other honey I will but these days comes from the leatherwood tree in Tasmania, Australia.
    I found this article extrememly interesting and it strengthens my desire to eliminate ALL food imports from China, whether for human consumption or for animal consumption. [Remember the melamine tragedy?]

  • http://4yourhealth.wordpress.com Bobbi Henderson

    Wonderful article, But disturbing news! I only purchase honey from the health food stores but after reading your article will be even more cautious. I try my best to not purchase any food
    stuff or vitamins from China…just feel safest purchasing home grown foods from the USA.

  • Tara

    It is true that eating local honey helps with allergies and why?

  • Chelsea

    I purchased honey and some other stuff from the Rhinebeck farmers market and our entire family got sick as hell. What a mistake shopping there! Who is supposed to be making sure the farmers market food is safe? It looks like a damned free for all to me and my family suffered for it.

  • Bill Karschnik

    I love honey! A few years ago I purchased a 1/2 gallon from Sams. I didn’t have much taste and the label showed it was from many different countries. I found a local company with hives in our area. There is a big difference in taste. If you can, try Round Rock honey. It’s real.

  • mllea

    fascinating article, but how does one eat locally-grown or locally-sourced products when there are no farms within hundreds of miles? This whole eat local thing is all fine and well if you live in a mild-weather, agricultural area like Oregon or northern California, but I live in a desert. It’s a huge problem. Unfortunately, I am stuck with what is likely Chinese honey. Disgusting.

  • Oscar

    Those evil Chinamen. How dare they sell us honey we can actually afford. Typical food alarmist bs.
    The fact is the quality of food has diminished since we were kids across the board and it isn’t China to blame. I think its great to eat an organic diet but who can afford this now?

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      Anyone that really wants their children to be healthy?

      • http://twitter.com/emirizilla i hate twittter

        So people in poverty don’t *really* want their children to be healthy? I see.

    • Lola Aileen Vanslette

      Anyone that wants to be healthy. I used to buy cheap, until Monsanto came to light. Now I buy generic. It doesn’t really cost that much more and it’s worth it to know you aren’t killing yourself to make a corporation money.

      • Guest

        generic?

  • J. Anderson

    You give a list of bad honeys, WHY NOT A LIST OF GOOD ONES?!!!
    Tell us what to buy!!! That’s the whole point of your article!!!

  • jeffrey

    This Article is misleading. ALL HONEY ARE FILTERED in one way or another. Otherwise you will take all the dirty particles from bee hives. Regular filtration will remove most of the pollen or other particles, but do not remove the flavor, gluctose or frutose or micro minerals human body needs.
    Is Food Safety legally responsible for this article and misleading judgement? I am afraid you might be suited for unscientific and groundless judgement which you have now published.

  • National Honey Board

    The choices consumers make today about most products, including honey, are extremely personal. In regards to honey, consumers may have varying opinions about their choice of honey type, flavor and origin. To enable a truly personal choice, there are many different kinds of honey available in the U.S. market. Some consumers prefer honey in the comb or liquid honey that is unprocessed or raw, while some prefer honey that is crystallized or cremed. Others will seek out honey that is organically produced and certified. However, the majority of honey sold at retail in the U.S. every year is the clear, golden liquid honey that has been strained or filtered.
    There are a number of filtration processes that remove fine particles, including pollen, from honey – but the end result is still pure honey. Pollen particles may or may not be present in the honey an individual chooses, but the product is still honey.
    Unfortunately, inaccuracies in a recent news story have fueled a considerable amount of confusion about the term “ultrafiltered honey.” Ultrafiltration is a specific process used in the food industry. When applied to honey, ultrafiltration results in a sweetener product that is not honey because of the significant changes it causes in the original honey. It is an expensive process that requires the addition of water to the honey, high pressure filtration at the molecular level, and then removal of the water. While it is known to have been used with honey overseas to create a sweetener product for beverages, ultrafiltration is not generally used in the U.S. Other filtration methods have been used for many years in the U.S. honey industry. These filtration methods are designed to remove fine particles such as bits of wax, bee parts, air bubbles and pollen that hasten crystallization of the honey and affect clarity. Recent articles have also incorrectly stated that the FDA does not consider honey without pollen to be honey – that is simply not true. For more information on honey filtration and USDA grading standards, click here. http://www.honey.com/nhb/about-honey/frequently-asked-questions/#honey-filtration

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      Thanks for posting the rebuttal, NHB. It’s always good to hear from both sides (or the many sides) of an argument. IMO the issue at hand is labeling. Label your product so that consumers can make an educated choice, and not rely on YOU to make if for them. Clearly many consumers will want the generic, processed product, judging by comments here. But more and more people want truly natural products, as unaltered as possible, and they want to know the source of the products they are putting into their bodies. Why so coy about sourcing? If it is irrelevant, then what’s the harm in disclosing it? And as far as ‘clover’ honey or ‘blackberry’ honey, LOL. Even the bees probably aren’t into full disclosure.

    • http://twitter.com/combatTVgirl Stevie Masen

      Nice to hear from your end…

    • Lola Aileen Vanslette

      Filtration isn’t the issue here. Heating it to the point of removing all natural benefits of honey is. If I use honey, I use it with the health benefits it provides in mind as well as the taste. I don’t want over-processed crap when I chose to eat natural foods. I want what I set out to get, and hiding this information is a violation of our freedom of choice. If you choose to eat nutritionally depleted products like this, that is your choice, but we all deserve a choice.

  • Eran

    BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BEEKEEPER, PERIOD!!!!! Theres enough of them out there with enough of a supply we dont need to hear this over and over again and still keep buying from big box’s

  • Bacon

    RayneTsering:
    “At 97 degrees the enzymes die off, and the honey is ruined. In the hives, when the temp starts rising too high, the bees will carry water, and fan the honey to keep it cool. If they are unable to keep it below 97 degrees, and the enzymes die, the bees won’t even eat it. It becomes useless to them unless they are starving. One of the major benefits of eating truly raw honey is the healing enzymes. Heated honey is toxic, and that’s all you will ever get from the FDA.”
    Simply false. Bees *prefer* to live in an environment that bumps up against that 97 degree temperature. They’ll consume honey and heat the hive with body movement up to 95-97 even in the coldest winter. So please come back when you know what you’re talking about. If bees avoided honey that contained denatured enzymes (they can’t be “killed” or “die” because they’re merely chemicals), then beekeepers would not be able to help their hives winter over by supplying them with sugar syrup. It doesn’t contain enzymes, so under your theory, they wouldn’t eat it, right? Guess what… they do.
    That cooling behavior you’re talking about is done to protect the brood and has nothing to do with concern about the honey’s enzymes.

  • corkyd

    Our tax dollars at work at the FDA…NOT!! Once again our food takes a backseat to politics.

  • http://www.onthewingphotography.com/wings/ Mia McPherson

    I get honey from a friend of mine who is a beekeeper. Wouldn’t use anything but that.
    But what about these new cough syrups that have replaced “artifical” ingredients and replaced them with honey? How do we know that they are not using honey from China? I don’t want to eat anything from China because it may contain contaminents.

  • Bacon

    Addressing RayneTsering again:
    If 97 degrees F is some magic number, the enzymes themselves haven’t gotten the message. Diastase takes a full month to degrade by half at 40 C. (97 F is approximately 36 C.) Invertase denatures much more rapidly, by half in only 9.6 days at 40 C. Even so, it doesn’t sound like a momentary bump in the temperatue is going to be much of a concern to the bees. Given the length of time some honey remains in the comb before consumption, it’s a safe bet that it has a greatly diminished enzyme content by the time the bees eat it. They seem to be making out just fine though.
    Let’s keep this going one step further. What do enzymes do? One thing and one thing only: They break large molecules (starches and sugars in this case) into smaller, simpler ones. That has what benefit inside the human body, exactly? The human digestive system produces and utilizes the exact same enzymes, among others, so they’re already present and doing their job just fine with many thousands of years of success.
    I’m all in favor of local, raw honey. Heck, I have five different honeys in my cupboard–two from my dad’s hives that he keeps as a hobby; one from his mentor; and two from apiaries that are just down the street from my home. But I’m also in favor of factual accuracy, and factually, consuming a small quantity of an enzyme that is already present in the GI tract is not going to make a significant difference.

  • http://www.backwardsbeekeepers.com James

    @mllea Dee Lusby’s Organic Beehives are in the middle of a 100+F Tempe Arizona desert. Bees live wherever there is a nectar flow (which includes cacti and succulents).
    Historically, honey adulteration had never existed because consumption was a normal demand curve. But if you look at the number of processed foods now listing honey as an ingredient, you’ll see where the real massive financial profit is being traded in diluted or substituted honey products. As individual consumers, we only buy about 2% of the world honey supply in little bottles. The majority of it goes to industrial food processing – by the 18-wheel truckload. Something to think about the next time you look at the ingredients on a Granola bar, or a Honey-sweetened cereal or bread.
    Know your food sources. And try to cut back on how much insecticide you use on your flowers and plants, because the bees have to deal with that, too.
    And I’ll throw this one out there as a general observation since we do a lot of urban bee relocations these days. Bees have decided they like living in our cities and suburbs more than being shipped around the country to monoculture super-farms for pollenation service.
    In our cities, we plant lots of annuals and perennials (mostly out-of-season), and vector control all their natural predators (wasps, hornets, mites, beetles, wax moths, etc.) Bees go where they’re happy to live and have good food sources. So they seem to be moving to our towns, like the coyotes, foxes, skunks and oppossums.
    Maybe eventually we’ll be back to the way Europe was 100 years ago and each family will again have a rooftop beehive on their homes (they really don’t take much maintenance).

  • Art

    This is tax fraud, not a problem with the food. China was hurting the boutique bee keepers here so protectionism was applied to try to keep the Chinese product out.
    Next step, mislabel and remove the pollen to allow the product to come into the market.
    No different than prohibition and the revenuers. Sick the IRS on them, but do not worry people by saying that the product is not honey simply because the natural taggants are not present.

  • http://4Brevard.com/ Richard Webb

    Beekeepers are allowed by the packing house to add minute quantities of corn syrup, probably not noticeable. But the packing houses themselves regulate the % because THEY load the honey with corn syrup.
    Consumers are to blame because they “demand” water-white grade. Therin lies the stupidity. It leads to adulteration. I would NEVER buy commercial honey. It’s like eating white bread. Yuck!
    There is NO need for regulation by Sen Chuckie Schumer because honey is a natural antibiotic due to high hydrogen peroxide naturally occurring.
    Chinese have killed their bees to the point they now hand-pollinate pear trees. Extreme danger to vegitable, fruit, and nut crops!

  • Judith Franklin

    I would like to be able to see a list of acceptable honey and have the unacceptable list beside it. Could you do this in such a way that we could share it on some place like Face Book? I like to inform my friends and family of important subjects like this…and they respond favorably to my little “infomercials”.
    My roommates and a friend all have hives. They use the passive filtering system that does not use heat of any source. I also live in rural Oregon where I can purchase local raw honey if I have to. I know…I’m a lucky girl!

  • Maryllen Candace Reichard

    I suspected as much for a long time. Especially, the possibility of corn syurp being cut into or added to. $$ is the main reason I have been buying mine at WM. However, I guess the time has come to cut down the amount I use and now to buy from our local growers etc. Gee, between our food and dog and cat food etc. and who knows what else ?? why should we worry about nuclear bombs?
    MCR in Green VAlley AZ

  • Lauren

    Bacon, thanks for the info. on the enzymes. As I suspected, while honey is delicious, especially the stuff from the local beekeeper, it is not a magical cure-all or necessarily good for you if it contains pesticides. My husband used to keep a small hive but the Varroa mites were so bad here it was hard to keep the bees healthy and if he didn’t treat the bees with miticide, they didn’t live.
    Americans may be afraid of Chinese honey because it might contain who knows what, but take a look at our major agricultural regions and what WE are putting on crops that bees are pollinating. Eating local and buying only from the farmers’ markets does not equate to eating organic.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if “colony collapse disorder” isn’t eventually linked to the pesticides we have been spraying on our food for decades.
    I think this article would have been more interesting if they could have tested the honey to see if it was pure honey or if it contained corn syrup or contaminants.

  • anon

    The article is not entirely clear. Did the contamination of Chinese honey begin after stiff tariffs were imposed? If so, isn’t it the case that American consumers have been harmed twice over, by the contaminated honey and the lengths the Chinese go to to avoid detection, and again by paying higher prices for honey than they otherwise would have to?

  • Bill Jordan

    Many people have mentioned organic honey in their comments.
    I find it difficult to consider any honey organic unless the person lived on a private island and could guarantee that no pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals have been used. Be forage over a 6 mile radius, so it would be impossible to be sure it’s organic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      LOL that one cracks me up…just like ‘lavender’ honey or ‘blackberry’ honey. These have to be people who have no clue whatsoever how bees operate and think that they can be programmed to only harvest nectar from specific plants. Hmmm. Well, come to think of it, that probably is on the GMO horizon…

  • http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/ Chris

    I live Ontario Canada. How can I check the contents of our honey? I use it regularly.
    Chris

  • John

    Buy locally or ‘really raw honey”,absolutely unfiltered with pollen,propolis(which is powerful antibiotic plus many benefits,Johm Sunland,Ca

  • S. Allen

    Buy Bezingy honey!!! All natural & 100% pure delicious, chemical free, Honey!! http://www.bezingy.com

  • James

    Bill you are right about the pesticides and chemicals. EPA does not have tolerances or residue limits for pesticides in honey so FDA does not even look for the majority of agricultural chemicals or non-agricultural chemicals in honey. In other words, there could be a lot more chemicals in the honey than this article indicates.
    Alas, consumers cannot depend on the government to protect them. They need to buy honey from beekeepers who do not let their bees forage near pesticide-treated fields. Good luck finding this type of honey because there aren’t many untreated fields or crops these days.

  • superf88

    Remarkable report, well done.
    Thank you!
    Some great comments here as well, such as John’s prediction that Chinese crooks will start/have started adding US pollen to Chinese honey to add a layer of deceipt.

  • Susan Irwin

    I live in China, and I do what everyone else who buys honey should be doing – I buy local. I have bought honey from the same beekeepers next to a mountainside temple for the past 11 years. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you should be eating the honey from the plants around you. Support your local beekeepers.

  • Pauline

    The solution is simple. BUY LOCAL.

  • Bea

    Local honey from your local beekeeper is an excellent product. And it will definitely cost more than the questionable products on store shelves. Why? Beekeeping is a time consuming effort and with more and more issues interfering with the health of the bees it takes considerably more effort than it did “back in the old days”. Chances are your local beekeeper is barely making a profit on the product s/he is selling you. Many beekeepers across this country have little or no honey this year (2011). Don’t just buy local honey; support local bees by not using any pesticide products in your home landscapes or gardens.

  • ACW

    Folks looking for verification that Burleson’s is certified, see link: http://www.tshmember.com/packers.php

  • http://www.angelossmokehouse.com Angelo Ibleto

    Somebody commented: ” Why not print a list of those who have good honey.” Yes indeed but, the problem is, when asked how large the supply of the good honey is: ” 20 pounds, just enough for our family and a jar for our neighbor”

  • Laurem

    James, I agree you are very unlikely to find honey that doesn’t contain ag pesticides. Why? Because bees are used to pollinate many of our crops. I live near a large almond, walnut and peach producing area. Every single field has a large number of bee supers in it. It’s the hobbyist beekeepers who don’t have many hives and don’t try to make a profit off beekeeping who will probably have the least contaminated honey, depending on where they live.
    I guess you live in a rural area that doesn’t have a lot of ag, Pauline. Because like I said before, buying local does not mean you are buying honey with less pesticides in it. If you live in Florida, California, or any of the midwestern states or southern states dominated by agriculture, you would do well to examine where your local beekeepers are putting their hives when you choose your local source of honey.

  • Ashley

    Buy honey from a local beekeeper! It’s better, and the pollen is from your area, which can help desensitize your allergies! It’s also fun to buy different single source honeys and see how amazingly different the flavors can be.

  • Jim

    I’m a small time beekeeper and occasionally I’ll wonder if it’s worth the hassle. After reading this I’d say decidedly yes!

  • Ben

    Anyone have a copy of the letter the FDA sent to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey? If so, please post, thanks!

  • Jason

    I had assumed that everybody knew that there was no way to guarantee that ‘blackberry honey’ was honey entirely from blackberry flowers. I guess if you don’t think about it you may get a surprise.
    I buy a single-flower honey for the taste. I know that within certain limits, Fireweed has a certain flavor, no matter who I buy from. If I like thistle better, then I’ll buy that if it’s available. I don’t think I’m the only one who operates that way.

  • Linda

    I looked up “True Source” …Many of the ones they say are good are on the Bad List here!

  • http://strawville.blogspot.com Strawville

    As several people pointed out, if presence of pollen is an indicator for real honey, it is not that hard to get pollen and add to the “honey”. Also real, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey has a stronger taste, that takes a while to get used to. So even “real honey” producers tend to convert honey into a manufactured product so that it sells.

  • J_Brisby

    What a pile of malarkey over nothing. Who cares if honey has pollen in it or not? I’ve never once eaten honey and thought “Wow, I can taste the pollen.” It’s just another excuse to indulge in socially acceptable bigotry against the Chinese.

  • Chance

    A test to determine the geographical origin of the pollen in honey seems like it may be expensive and time consuming. A test for pesticides would probably be much easier and faster and more damning to the manufacturer and of course, the grower.
    Just sayin…

  • http://www.sabeelhoney.com Mishtaq

    Excellent article, It raises many questions and key points emanating from complex socio-economical side of honey trade. The fact US produces only 1/3 rd of its honey demand. The fact Chinese honey is not necessarily loaded with contaminants. The fact that its people misconception that crystallized, granulated honey is fake and adulterated. Advertising which creates this impression that glittering, crystal clear honey in beautiful bottles is somehow wholesome and healthy. Few people know that ultra-filtration and pasteurization at 60 degrees+ kills all the wonderful enzymes that make honey life elixir. As a matter of fact US needs imported honey to meet her demand,so instead of demonizing Chinese honey fool proof mechanism of honey testing should be incorporated. So that Chinese honey doesn’t flow into to US via proxy countries fitted with ultra-filtration plants. National Honey board should launch a campaign educating people that processed honey is nothing more than sugar syrup and unfiltered, raw honey which will eventually get crystallized still retains most of its wonderful enzymes and healing powers.

  • John B.

    J. Brisby -
    Eating local honey that contains pollen is a good homeopathic remedy for seasonal allergies.

  • Monika

    J. Brisby -
    It’s not about whether you can “taste the pollen”, it’s about what the removal of the pollen indicates. Ultra filtered honey nearly always contains CONTAMINANTS. If you don’t care whether you’re ingesting metals and antibiotics, by all means ignore the article.

  • Ben Mark

    ACW: they link you added doesn’t tell anything. Certification of what? Prove where the honey was harvested? Just another blind fold for the consumer to get more money out of his pocket by saying that’s certified. I can certify I wrote this comment as soon as I hit the submit button.

  • Ron Dell

    Great article but please be careful not to paint all producers with the same brush. Initially when I read your article I got the impression that Sue Bee was in the negative catagory because of a lack of response. I emailed Sue Bee and got an immediate response. Obviously they are not trying to avoid answering my concerns. My question to Sue Bee concerned the origin of their honey and if ultra filtration was used and was answered by Bill Hauser and is listed below:
    “Sioux Honey, the packers of Sue Bee Honey, is a co-op of American beekeepers whose bees produce honey in the USA and pollinate USA crops. It is our mission to market this honey under the Sue Bee Honey brand.
    All Sue Bee Honey currently comes from the USA. Our labels are truthful in stating 100% Product of the USA. The one exception is our Aunt Sue’s Organic Honey which is sourced in Brazil, the only place in the world producing quality organic honey (none is produced in the US).
    The crop of last summer fell short of expectations, causing a shortage of USA clover honey. This condition may cause us to add Canada honey to the 5lb Sue Bee Clover Honey jug we sell in Sam’s Club (negotiations ongoing as to next year’s contract). If so, that honey will be labeled Product of USA and Canada. All other Sue Bee items will remain as they are, 100% product of the USA.
    Best regards,
    Bill Huser
    V.P. of R.&D.
    Sioux Honey Association
    301 Lewis Blvd.
    Sioux City, IA 51101″
    I then followed up with another question regarding wether Sue Bee added ANYTHING to their honey and again his reply is listed below:
    “Absolutly not!!! It is 100% honey. If we added anything we could not call it honey.”
    I wanted to note that other than being a consumer of Sue Bee products (and that is why I addressed the Sue Bee company), I have no affiliation with the company in any way shape or form. In conclusion I have found them to be very candid in their response and will be very comfortable using their products in the future. I closing I would like to pass on a tidbit I have lived by for many years and that is “TRUST BUT VERIFY”

  • Anonymous

    For what it’s worth, after having the unfortunate emergency event of needing to stop into a KFC, they label what they offer for their biscuits as “Honey Sauce”–they don’t even claim it’s honey (same for their “Buttery Spread”.) I had a similar experience as the following blogger who noted that their “Honey Sauce” had the following ingredients: “high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup, honey, caramel color.”
    Blog link is not my blog:
    http://englishprof-playinthedirt.blogspot.com/2009/09/natural-or-unnatural-kfc-honey-sauce.html

  • Robert Gray

    I don’t understand why the origin is all-important. The criteria that should be applied is one that assures there are no dangerous contaminants without regard to the source of the product.

  • http://www.health-benefits-of-honey.com Janette Marshall

    These are all and very valid reasons as to why I always state on my own Health Benefits of Honey Website the Best way is to buy raw local honey if you wish to experience the many benefits it brings. I would not dream of eating or even giving any other types of honey to my family and friends. It has to be raw local honey and I have stated many times “be careful what you buy” Labels are a minefield and consequently confusing. If you are at unsure leave it on the shelf where it belongs. My only exception is a high grade medicinal honey Manuka, which has been extensively researched by a team headed by Dr Peter Molam at the Waikato University, New Zealand. I like many others long for the day our store shelves are cleared of most of the rubbish that finds itself in our cupboards. “Special Blends”? But what are they blended with! Almost always High Fructose Corn Syrup! Out of interest, where I live I am willing to travel further afield to track down really raw honey from a bee-keeper, it has become more difficult at times to find due to it fast gaining in popularity and many of our local stores limit each customer to one jar just to give others a chance. Thank goodness I have many good bee-keeping friends, It certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing to have more, it should be encouraged and I do my own bit to do just that. Thank you for a really informative and eye-opening article.

  • Sheryl

    I’m a beekeeper,and just because people are allergic to pollen …they blame bees.Amanda did not mention at ALL they use honey…Don’t blame the bees for people’s allergies…Bee’s would be the greatest thing on earth if they produced Allegra. Alot of people look to honey to relieve the effects of allergies…and the best way to do that is find a LOCAL beekeeper that is willing to sell their product.Buying honey that has been stripped of pollen and the benefits of it’s ingredients is like buying a medicine compared to a sugar pill.Treat what is in your are…as the saying goes…keep your friends close..but your enemies closer.Unprocessed honey from a LOCAL beekeeper may be your answer

  • Ace

    American commercial beekeepers are not honest either. People are in buiness to make money. I have personally been in this industry for over a decade and sampled all of the Major brands including samples from many commercial beekeepers. From my testing have found that neither side whether it be packer or beekeeper is legitimate.

    • Bill Henry

      Most large bee keeping businesses are based on following the crops and are used as pollinators. I don’t know what they do with the honey the bees produce, but I would imagine they sell it. Don’t know what they do with it after that. I don’t personally use a lot of honey, but have been thinking about it. I will confine my buying to a local producer. I have a large place that I rent but don’t know if my landlord would allow me to keep bees.

  • martin, outer hebrides

    many, many comments. This isn’t just honey, is it? A lot of discussion here is based on how best to let governments and big businesses control and regulate us, partly because we are lazy by nature and prepared to turn a blind eye for what seems like an easy life. A few people here seem to ‘get it’ though.
    Dont let yourself down – if someone sent you an email promising great things, cheap bargains etc, you would (hopefully) think ‘if seems to good to be true, it probably is..’
    If you want top quality, healthy food at a good economical price, most places offering that on a large scale are too good to be true, and you can easily let yourself believe it’s true because you want to believe it, but you know that’s not really the case. Starting locally is absolutely one of the best ways to go but, as some have already observed, still keep your eyes open. Test the honesty and openness of the supplier – in most cases you will be pleasantly surprised, and any rogues will soon give themselves away.
    Most people are overweight and eat too much (including me). Why not buy better quality but less amount? For the same price you will probably get more actual nutrition out of a smaller portion that cost the same price, but tasted better.
    As others have pointed out, not all big suppliers are evil con artists. If you think a big supplier does a good job of labelling where a product comes from, works ethically etc., why not phone or write and tell them so? If they know that people appreciate honest labelling, local (or foreign sourced) produce etc, then they will try to provide that.
    These issues apply in my country as well as your country. we will get what we accept, so don’t accept poor products from people who are only in it for the money. You deserve the kind of service and produce that you would like to give someone yourself. If we are lucky enough to end up with a choice of infomatively ( & honestly) labelled products in a big supermarket and local produce from a farmers market – great! What a choice! This obviously applies to lots of things, not just honey. If you’re not sure, why not give it a try for a week?

  • 57chevy

    Honey and bee polen should be purchased locally for two reasons. Support your local bee keepers and only consume honey and bee pollen from where you live. Bees collect the pollen form the local trees, flowers, shrubs, and flowering buds. The same stuff you sneeze at during the spring, hay fever, cedar fever and the like, could be much less anoying if people would consume these honeys and pollens to help their immune system. I hardly ever have congestion and sneezing from these pollens because I always get honey form where I live and consume at least weekly, if not daily. Honey from China is not going to help my immune system in San Antone! Oh, great eye opening article!

  • http://www.Melissabees.com Melissa

    Check out my raw, completely chemical-free hive honey: http://melissabees.com/melissa-bees-chemical-free-hive-honey/

  • Alfred

    This was a very interesting article.
    This article does leave a lot of information to be desired.
    It was stated that this high filtration stage is suppose to filter out pollen; then shouldn’t this stage also filter out any type of metal contamination from inferior products? Pollen can range from 1um to 500um and in the picture above it looks like it is about 1 micron in size.
    After the pollen test why didn’t the tester re-filter the honey to check for these contaminants? This would be a sure sign that it indeed was “bad” honey and not make people think that it is bad honey because of the lack of pollen. The results can also confirm that the manufactures did not put their honey into a high filtration process.
    Also, this professor should have the equipment to test for additives that were doped into the test honey. Things like antibiotics and corn syrup.
    If you have more information on this test and where i can find the paper on the test methods and findings please post it up so i can read learn from the results.

  • grimace

    Excellent article. A few points:
    1) With all due respect to Mr. Bill Huster and Sue Bee, the best food is local food. This applies especially to honey, the regional variations of which are useful for alleviating allergies. The best intentions of big producers belie one simple fact: Agriculture does not scale well. Be it honey, or beef, or cucumbers, the best food comes from the smallest local producers.
    2) Point of clarification for anyone who may be new to the idea that honey can help with allergies: Don’t expect to take it and feel instant relief during allergy season, as you would Claritin or something. It doesn’t work like that. You eat a little raw, unfiltered, unheated honey on a daily basis, year round, and over time your body will become less prone to seasonal allergies. Ingesting pure bee pollen works even better, but it is more expensive, difficult to find, and doesn’t taste very good. The reason you want local honey is that local honey will contain the very same pollen to which you want to build immunity. It’s no use building immunity to pollen from plants which grow in China, when you live in New England.
    3) Honey contains vitamins, antioxidants, and antimicrobials. Many of these are destroyed during the heating process… yet another reason to buy raw local honey.
    4) Despite (or perhaps because of) the problems facing bees these days, many people are taking up beekeeping as a hobby. These folks often don’t have the equipment to micro-filter or heat treat honey even if they wanted to, which means they usually produce the very highest quality product. Check farmers markets, mom-and-pop health food stores, even knock on a door if you see a beehive in someone’s yard. It’s worth buying the best. Better yet, become a beekeeper yourself. It’s fascinating and not particularly expensive or time consuming.
    5) Don’t worry about granulated honey. All honey will granulate eventually; some much quicker than others, based on what nectar sources they include. Granulated honey is NOT an indicator of low quality… quite the reverse, actually! One of the reasons packers heat honey is to delay granulation. Unfortunately, heat destroys honey’s beneficial qualities and flavor. If you see granulated honey on a table at a farmers market, don’t hesitate to buy it. It’s probably wonderful. It’s the clear honey that stays liquid on the supermarket shelves for months that you should be wary of.
    6) If you want to help the bees in your neighborhood, lay off the lawn and garden chemicals. Most of these are poisonous to bees. Let the clover grow. Let some weeds grow. You don’t need to plant a wildflower garden to attract bees. Just lay off the chemicals and let nature take its course.

    • gmax777

      Excellent post! I have a couple of hives in my back yard. I run foundationless (beekeepers will know what I mean) and do some comb honey and crush and strain the rest through several layers of cheese cloth. A gooey, sticky, overnight process. I only take about 50 to 70 lbs of honey a year total from my two hives but for me it is a hobby with benefits. I let my ladies (all worker bees are female) have the rest. The male bees just lay about, eat honey and have sex. Sounds like a good job if you could get it until you realize the females kill all the males in the fall because they don’t want to feed their lazy asses over the winter, when food is in short supply. The one thing about granulated honey is DO NOT heat it in a pan or the microwave to dissolve the sugar grains. Put it in a sink of hot water. Your hot water heater will give you water at a temp of 120 to 130 degrees. That is not hot enough to destroy the benefits of honey but will slowly dissolve the grains. It may take a couple of hours and a couple of water changes but it will work. Packers heat honey as high as 400 degrees because they don’t want to take the time to do it right and want it to flow like water while filling bottles.

  • steve

    As a “one hive” beekeeper, my bees produce about 60 lbs in my upper shallow supers each summer. It is a wonderful hobby, my kids help out and have a blast, and I really enjoy being a part of the bees’ unique lives.
    It has been one of the most basic pure pleasures to see how nature works wonders by itself. I strain the honey simply with a fine mesh kitchen strainer, and its ready to be comsumed.
    What a geat story, but huge disappointment to hear that honey is bought and sold that way the story describes. I agree with an earlier comment that most of the best food is grown locally, whether it is tomatoes, turnips, or honey!

  • http://wildthingsinabox.blogspot.com/2011/07/plan-bee-honey.html David Grim

    My wife and I are beekeepers and have a blog posting you can use as a guide to buying honey. Terms like local and natural have been abused by Madison Avenue Honey marketing and are of NO VALUE in buying your honey. A few questions to ask are as follows:
    1. Where are the beehives located where the honey came from?
    2. What is the process used in harvesting the honey. (We use a 600 micron filter ONLY.)
    3. What chemicals are used in the beehive?
    Let common sense be your guide and you will be happy honey consumers.
    Here is a blog posting with more details.
    http://wildthingsinabox.blogspot.com/2011/07/plan-bee-honey.html

  • sten

    What about mixing with HFCS – high fructose corn syrup -the cheapest of all sugars, and as bad for the liver as alcohol!
    (See: Youtube, sugar the bitter truth)
    There is a lab that say they can test within if HFCS has been added and how much within 5%
    Are such tests in the pipeline for Foodsafetynews?
    The fraud is really awful:
    People are delighted getting cheap honey (e.g. Walmart)for its health properties but are instead getting zero pollen and liver damaging HFCS! All FDA employees should be ashamed; better sacked.
    See also article from Coastal Science Labs,test of HFCS in Honey.
    http://www.csl-sira.com/honeyapp1.htm

  • sten

    What about the mixing with HFCS – high fructose corn syrup -the cheapest of all sugars, and near as bad for the liver as alcohol in excess!
    (See: Youtube, sugar the bitter truth)
    There is a lab that say they can test if HFCS has been added and just how much, within 5%
    Are such tests in the pipeline for Foodsafetynews?
    The fraud is really awful:
    People are delighted getting cheap honey (e.g. Walmart)for its health properties but are instead getting zero pollen and liver damaging HFCS! All FDA employees should be ashamed; better sacked.
    See also article from Coastal Science Labs,test of HFCS in Honey. http://www.csl-sira.com/honeyapp1.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vaccination-Information-Network-VINE/69667273997 Erwin Alber

    Would Andrew Schneider please post a comment in response to this article:
    Relax, Folks. It Really Is Honey After All.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/11/25/142659547/relax-folks-it-really-is-honey-after-all?ft=1&f=1001

  • andy

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/11/25/142659547/relax-folks-it-really-is-honey-after-all?ft=1&f=1001
    Sorry your honey is still honey, and is not ultra purified. The method of purification described in the article is not the way honey is processed in the US to remove pollen. Get your story straight.

  • goodsammy

    The Busy Bee guys did post a response on their site here http://www.ghfllc.com/news/2011/2011-11-08.pdf. I would appreciate if the author can respond to this. It will only reduce our confusion. It may also reduce my grocery bill coz I do buy the same product.

  • Keenan Kline

    So, removing the emotion, bluster, and false flags, the bottom line is:
    Eat local honey when at all possible, being aware that nothing in life is without some risk.
    Foreign suppliers should not be subjected to punitary duties, but should pay for the testing of their product for purity and adulterants. The time it takes to do so will not affect or degrade their product.
    US manufacturers and other industrial users of honey should be required to label their products with the country of origin and state whether or not the product has been modified. If they remove pollen for any reason, it should be no problem for them to make this information public or put in on labels.
    Consumers should make their own choices, but they need correct and full information. Additionally, most consumers do not have the time to do indepth research on the products they consume. A minimum level of purity across the board seems reasonable to protect the general public.
    The presence or absence of pollen as a food is not an issue as long as the purchaser can find this information and make a choice for him/her self.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      The article is explaining that what is taken OUT of it can be harmful. The pollen itself in this form is good for you.

  • Christina Jones

    I just got off the phone with a customer service rep from Kroger. She claimed that if my honey says “Product of USA” and doesn’t include another country of origin, then I am to understand that the honey is sourced from the USA. Can this be right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      And you believed somebody from the company. Ha! Guess you believe the CEO from Walmart that says they never stole hours from their employees either!!!

  • Tina C.

    You have all kinds of lists of bad honey brands, but not one list of good honey brands. Why not? Why make it difficult for us as a reader and consumer to find the good honeys?

  • critical

    I am surprised by the number of hostile, emotional and just plain nonsensical comments on this well-researched piece. To anyone who’s read this far: Keep in mind that the Chinese government is so obsessed with controlling public opinion in other countries that it actually employs people to comment on stories on the web that it feels are in any way “anti-Chinese.”

  • Tom.

    Thank you very much for this article. But please, let the buyer beware. Once this gets out, manufactures will probably start adding pollen back in to trick the consumer.
    Listen, buy your honey from your local farmers market or online from a local beekeeper. Make sure that the hives they use to collect the honey is far away from industrialization or agriculture where pesticides and other poisons can contaminate it.
    I would say buy honey straight from local beekeepers in far-reaching rural areas of the United States. I hear that New Zealand has some very strict guidelines on food quality and some of the rural areas of New Zealand is very clean and pure. Another place that comes to mind are hives kept deep within the Brazilian rain forests.
    Make sure it’s raw, unheated, unprocessed, unfiltered, honey. Certified organic if you can find it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      I think part of the point of the article is that with honey, you just never know. Anyone can slap a label on a jar and say their own bees produced this honey from their own certified organic lavender plants. Only the bees know for sure. In fact, anyone can say their bees produced the honey they are selling when they actually are selling third-party honey. A line that SueBee apparently skirts if they advertise India and China-bought honey as an American product simply because they bottle it here.

  • randomhoney

    Great article. Why we put in a hive and adding another this Spring. All I can say is, until my first spoonful of pure raw unfiltered unheated honey straight from the hive with pollen and small bits of wax, I never knew the complex flavors in one spoonful. Ours tastes of licorice, mint, citrus and roses all at once. Hoping to have lots of jars for locals who care about their health and want to alleviate their allergies.
    Big worry is the killer fly they just discovered in CA wiping out colonies and the asian wasp that is about to reach the US. Both are contributors to CCD. Hope someone finds a trap for the fly and wasp to prevent them from killing off our wonderful honey bees.
    Buy local!

  • george

    just maybe their filtering it so people that are allergic to the pollen of flowers,can ingest it…..

  • Ashley P.

    Awesome information, thanks for posting!

  • http://www.honey.com Bruce Boynton CEO National Honey Board

    The November, 2011, FSN story on honey may have led readers to believe that any honey without pollen is not real honey. This is not true.
    According to the United States Standards, honey can be filtered to remove fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles and other materials found suspended in the honey1. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gives higher grades for honey that has good clarity. Importantly, honey that has been filtered to meet USDA’s grading standards may not have pollen, but it is still honey.
    Honey is filtered by U.S. packers for various reasons:
    1. Many consumers prefer honey that is liquid and stays liquid for a long time.
    o All honey crystallizes eventually. Suspended particles and fine air bubbles in honey contribute to faster crystallization. Filtering helps delay crystallization, helping the honey to remain liquid for a much longer period than unfiltered honey.
    2. Many consumers prefer honey to be clear and brilliantly transparent.
    o The presence of fine, suspended material (pollen grains, wax, etc.) and air bubbles results in a cloudy appearance that can detract from the appearance. Filtering is done to give a clear brilliant product desired by consumers. For the filtered style of honey, USDA Grading Standards for Extracted Honey give higher grades for honey that has good clarity.
    o Honey is filtered to remove extraneous solids that remain after the initial raw processing by the beekeeper.
    In contrast to the filtration methods used to meet USDA grading standards, ultrafiltration is a more complex process that results in a sweetener product. The FDA says this product should not be labeled honey. The article confuses filtration and ultrafiltration, applying FDA’s position on ultrafiltered honey to any honey without pollen. The fact is filtered honey may not have pollen, but it is still honey by national standards and is preferred by many consumers.
    We are all concerned about illegal activities that negatively impact the honey industry, damage the image of honey, or cheat consumers. We support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its regulation of honey and oppose any practice that would jeopardize the quality, purity and image of honey.
    However, the misunderstanding about ultrafiltration has misinformed consumers. Here’s what consumers need to know:
    - Filtered honey is honey by national standards. Filtration removes floating particles, and sometimes pollen, and makes the honey liquid longer and improves clarity.
    - Ultrafiltration produces a sweetener that should not be called honey.
    - Honeybees make honey from nectar, not pollen.
    1 For decades, many U.S. honey packers have been filtering raw honey prior to bottling in accordance with USDA’s United States Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey (May 23, 1985). According to section 52-1393 of the Standards , Filtered honey is honey of any type defined in these standards that has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed. Section 52.1394 of the Standards also says that Pollen grains in suspension contribute to the lack of clarity in filtered style.

  • http://kitcheningwithcarly.com Carly

    Even more reason to purchase locally where these dialogues and relationships with the makers are possible. Not to say that local solves the problem, but it does leave open the doors of conversation. I found this quote in the article particularly thought provoking “pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.”

  • http://www.litmocracy.com Dave Scotese

    Why isn’t there a list of honeys that DO contain pollen, and therefore can’t be the filtered kind from China? Did every honey that FSN tested fail?

  • Dan

    Why would the Chinese bother to go through the expensive ultrafiltration process if, as reported in this article, the honey imported into the United States isn’t being inspected? Seems it would only be worth it to ultrafilter the honey if the FDA, or some other authority, was rigorously inspecting all honey imported into the US. This little disparity sets off my bovine excrement detector.

  • http://buzzroundtown.com Melinda

    Commercial Honey has no pollen because it is extruded which heats it and removes all the good nutritious properties in the hive like pollen and propolis. Find a beekeeper and buy from them. I do have honey and bees!

  • WASP

    China strikes again. Now it’s even our honey.

  • LLGB

    I wondered how some stores can sell honey so cheap. Suppport your local beekeeper!

    • jonnyD Ninny Cheese
    • Lola Aileen Vanslette

      I am. We have one nearby we called to collect honey bees from our home. Unfortunately, they weren’t honey bees (we didn’t know), but he was generous enough to give us a jar of real honey, so I have a place to go to. Thankfully, I live in Vermont, so gmos are not as much of a problem for the bees here.

    • LunaChick

      I
      bought one of the brands on the list and it was horrible. The flavor
      was very bland. Since then, I’ve bought local honey, at a farmers
      market. I’ve also purchased some Brazilian forest honey, but I haven’t
      tried it yet.

      • fatty

        WHen you going to try it? Why not try it now because I’m waiting to hear. I use honey all the time it is good for you

      • sarah d

        Where do you get Brazilian forest honey from?

      • Solo Mantino

        How do you know that the “local farmers market honey” isn’t just bulk filtered crap sold to you in “old-fashioned” looking jars? I had a local farmers market get caught selling GMO vegetables they purchased from a distributor that also catered to Walmart.

    • http://ellelaurelrose.com/ Elle Laurel Rose

      Mostly with you but that seems either elitist or ignorant of people’s budgets in America (and our lack of free time).

  • thundal

    So far as I read, the only damage was a single batch of anti-biotic and low-dose heavy metal-infused honey (if you eat enough honey to get HMP/HMT you’re either consuming far too much or it should taste funny…). Honey’s only purpose is as a sweetener that can never go old, to be shoved into shoeboxes for the long haul, so far as I’m aware, because there’s dozens of products that both taste better and are better for you.
    So wherein lies the problem? Is the point that somehow china produces a cheaper alternative that’s more commercially suitable and the people who want “Natural” are SOL? What’s wrong with that? Since when do people give a damn about organic?

  • http://www.randalcarr.com Randal

    If you want pure, natural honey, buy it from local beekeepers. They will be happy to talk to you about their products. Raw, unfiltered honey is believed to have the greatest health benefits. If you don’t know your beekeeper, how can you know your honey?

  • http://article-marketing-tools.blogspot.com Sara at Article Marketing

    This is really very disheartening. How the heck can we every really know what to eat in this country!? Just the other day I spent 40 minutes in the store trying to find some uncolored, unsweetened cough drops. No luck.

  • Jacob Crim

    I see everyone commenting on buying from local farmers. I do shop at my farmers market every weekend and see honey there, but its always nice and clear. I usually purchase “Really Raw Honey” so maybe my idea of Raw honey is thick and cloudy, so my question is it can be clear?

  • http://www.testing-laboratory.com Testing

    Just make sure you buy the honey “Made in USA” products.

  • http://www.banja-vrujci.co.rs Banja Vrujci smestaj

    I usually do not create a lot of comments, but i did
    a few searching and wound up here Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey.
    And I do have some questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it appear like a few of these comments come across as if they are left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at other sites, I’d like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of your communal sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  • http://seigfried23.hubpages.com/hub/The-Barclay-Card-Visa-Black Visa Black

    Thank you very much to Bruce Boynton, the CEO of Honey up above, for the clarification on honey being real even if lacking pollen. It makes so much sense, and should be read; maybe even included in the article up above as an addendum.

  • http://cybertron-transformers.blogspot.com/2011/05/transformers-game-demo-downloads-for.html terry crews

    My thing is, why do manufacturers go to some much trouble and expense to filter out the pollen? wouldn’t it be cheaper, and thus more beneficial to their bottom line, to just sell as is?

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      ALSO answered in the article if you would read.

  • http://credit-cards-pay.blogspot.com Trevor@black card

    The real question is, what are the health effects of ‘pollen-less’ honey? And, do those big stores like Sam’s Club, etc, use food coloring, which i consider more dangerous than it gets credit for?

  • a reader

    This article is so bias. The problem will occur any where, you may just do not know it.

  • http://israelcalder718374.webs.com/apps/blog/show/14053384-china-trade-downsides-and-cautions China Trade

    Outstanding story there. What happened after? Good luck!

  • http://mapaverdesanmiguel.org Rick

    So how fine a filter is considered ‘ultra-filtering’?

  • http://best-endowment-policy.blogspot.com/2011/07/endowments-in-general.html Endowment

    It sometimes makes me sad for the world whenever more news comes out about supposedly natural stuff not being all that good for us, simply because some company wants to make it extra-sweet; catering to taste buds no matter the human cost. Terrible.

  • http://www.gretchenbeeranch.com Troy Van Marter

    Interesting article; Thank you for the information.
    I purchase pure US honey from Gretchen Bee Ranch in Seguin, TX. They have eight different varieties from Texas and around the United States, as well as bee crafts and gift baskets. My favorite honey is their Guadalupe County Mesquite Honey. It is a mild honey with a slightly smoky flavor. http://www.gretchenbeeranch.com

  • http://holycomics.com Jason Quest

    The stuff in the little packets that KFC gives you isn’t even CLOSE to being honey. It says “honey SAUCE” on the label, and the ingredients list corn syrup and other sugars before honey.

  • JimS.

    Well GEE, Bruce (from the National Honey board). I feel SO much better after your comments– which amount to nothing.
    To summarize what you said:
    1. the public likes their honey to look pretty, not necessarily for it to be more healthy.
    2. the USDA guidelines rate honey higher if it looks pretty, since consumers like honey that looks prettier.
    3. We strictly follow the guidelines for the highest rated honey. Our honey is the prettiest, so therefore it’s the best.
    4. We take out all the good stuff and cook all the beneficial things out of the honey. But sure looks pretty!
    Yeah, I feel so much better now.
    Thanks for proving the basic points of the article.

  • Rina

    Grew up in NYC, my parents immigrated to America from Russia in 1970′s, and my mom always said store brand honey wasn’t “Real” honey, it didn’t taste/look like the natural honey she had grown up with. She always bought honey imported from Europe (not China, Europe.) For the past 8-9 years the honey has come from local beekeepers in upstate NY. They know it’s real honey since they visit the farm and buy it right at the source.

  • Zeus O.

    I was eating some Safeway Clover honey with some chicken tenders when I looked up an article that caught my eye stating “The Honey You’re Eating isn’t REAL” or something along those lines aka THIS article. Flabbergasted, I put the bottle of honey down and decided to google my new “find” for more information. I went a two pages in until I saw an article by NPR.org stating that this article by Food Safety News is a little misleading.
    Read it for yourself:
    http://m.npr.org/story/142659547?url=/blogs/thesalt/2011/11/25/142659547/relax-folks-it-really-is-honey-after-all
    I weighed out the logic between the two and it seems clear the “ultra-filtered honey” is plain filtered honey – without pollen or any of a bee’s remains (wings, attenae, etc.”) Nothing bad or false; just filtered. Shame on this article for causing alarm. I was beginning to think that I was eating toxic honey for a second.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

      AGAIN READ, this article IS saying that the honey you eat CAN be toxic! The problem with identifying the TOXIC honey is in the filtering which keeps you from identifying the source.

  • http://authorservices.org Michael

    Excellent article. Goes into great detail and specifics.
    Should be shared around as much as possible to not only expose the issues with honey production but also as tyo where real honey can be obtained.

  • http://fage-greek.blogspot.com/2011/06/greek-yogurt-diet.html Fage Diet

    REally wish we could just get good food in this damn country sometimes. Someone needs to take these people to task. Is the FDA compromised?

    • Ryan Ooss

       you’re the consumer. you dictate the industry. you can choose to stop buying bad food whenever you want

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.ellsworth.96 BIll Ellsworth

         Lol no you can’t. Hey I don’t want to buy anything with GMO in it I guess I’ll just go to the store and look at the… OH NEVERMIND MONSANTO PUT 5 MILLION DOLLARS OF PROPAGANDA  MONEY TO KILL THAT BILL SO THEY GMO ISN”T LABELED LOL.

        • Katita2009

          It was knocked down because foods with GMOs don’t need to be labeled. Most processed foods contain GMO crops. You can thank GMOs for the cheap food you enjoy while other countries spend even more money on food without the benefits of GMOs. If you really want GMO free buy organic. Otherwise stop complaining.

          • BJSyes

            Katita2009, you should really see “The Future of Food” documentary. Or check out one of Jeffrey Smith’s books if you prefer reading – http://www.seedsofdeception.com. Eye-opening!

            Did you see the latest NYT article about how a CA Label GMOs volunteer, Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD (registered dietician) just got dismissed from a work group of the prestigious Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics due to her questioning their position on the health impact of GMO’s? Here’s her blog statement on the incident:
            http://healthyeatingrocks.com/2013/04/17/is-the-academy-of-nutrition-and-dietetics-committed-to-telling-americans-the-truth-about-what-they-are-eating/

          • Guest

            Katita2009, it sounds like you are in denial about how many of our government agencies are compromised by the selfish interests of big businesses who buy politicians to protect their bottom lines. Let’s see…

            “Deepwater Horizon has passed all inspections.”

            “Karen Silkwood is imagining things.”

            “Nicotine is a harmless substance.”

            Just because you don’t feel like an ostrich doesn’t mean your head isn’t in the sand, Katita. When all nations but one agree on a certain health risk, defending the one is usually a fools errand.

          • Lyrrad Thims

            :) I concur..

          • chassy47

            Geez, thanks Gmo’s!! AAaaagghhhhh…….

          • Derp

            Organic food is frequently tainted and mislabeled. Also, whatever money is being saved on food is likely being spent on things like healthcare instead. Short term savings tend to have long term consequences.

      • chassy47

        glad you think this is the case. Been reading Adam Smith have you? Now let’s see you just TRY to dictate to the market and to avoid bad food. Really try, and get back to me if you can.

      • Leo

        I agree, that there is much power in the community being able to stop buying these products. But I agree with Bill, who is going to stop the big companies that are buying out our government?
        http://bodymindsuccess.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1047969183 Jeannie Henderson Young

      yes the FDA is definately compromised…….it now has many people that worked for Monsanto now working for them…..what does that tell you??

      • Kay Dee

        That they decided they would rather work for food safety than for a chemical plant?

        • flameforjustice

          WRONG!!!! They’re working for the FDA to push their agenda for NOT caring about food safety and the USA consumer.

        • http://twitter.com/N2NEP John R. Cunliffe

           Strange thing is that once they done with their stint at the FDA they go right back to Monsanto or whatever GMO outfit they came from…look it up…

        • Katarzyna

          No… that they’re morales and interests maybe comprimised considering they worked for a world reknown plant that integrates poison into food and patents seeds.

          • Katita2009

            Seeing as you eat this “poison” every day unless you eat completely organic I can’t say that it’s really that bad. We’re all still living!

          • Lola Aileen Vanslette

            Yes, with a significant rise in obesity, diabetes, mentally challenged, Parkinson’s, alzheimers, neuropathy, fibromyalgia,….. need I go on? Is living in pain worth living with GMOs? As a person who suffers and have lost loved ones to those diseases, I say it isn’t.

          • Scott Turner

            Lola, I agree with you but let’s call it what it is: Mental Retardation. “Mentally Challenged” is what a person is during a chess or scrabble game. Mentally Retarded is not a derogatory slur, it is a proper medical diagnosis.

          • Robin

            All such terms get co-opted as slurs. Cretin, idiot, imbecile, moron, all technical terms in their day (cretin is probably still used a bit formally).

          • Lyrrad Thims

            Really, well, lets give it a few more years until all food is contaminated with GMO and then there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it…..but buy the seed from them in order to ‘survive’….

          • Debra

            Not all food will be contaminated. Several of us are making sure to get non GMO heirloom seeds and start our own gardens and store seeds for future use. I suggest TheSeedGuyDOTcom and MyPatriotSupplyDOTcom!

          • chassy47

            bless you child I’m glad you think so!

        • Lola Aileen Vanslette

          No, they were placed there by Monsanto, just like the Supreme Court Judge, to approve anything they try to pass off as safe.

      • Lydia Brindley

        that we are all in the proverbial shit !!! xx

      • Lyrrad Thims

        correct…. it’s one global agenda!

    • Guest

      Yes, “someone” should. Why not you? By voting with your $$. Shop mindfully, and accept the fact that if you are going to support local producers you are sometimes going to have to do without, or reprogram your diet, because certain products are seasonal and won’t be available year-round.

      • http://twitter.com/combatTVgirl Stevie Masen

        And therein lies the problem; we want food that’s safe, but we don’t give a rat’s rear end where the food comes from or what it goes through to get to our table. We want everything, our way, right now. Americans are not the only ones with that attitude, but we’re certainly among the loudest voices. GMO’s came about as a direct result of demand; cut the demand and you’ll cut the supply. The problem with THAT is, there are 7 billion people on this planet, and until we reach the consensus that birth control is a necessary thing, we have to feed everyone living here.

        • Bill Henry

          How about 12 Billion? That is the estimate figure that I have seen.

        • Lydia Brindley

          I have always said that n do people listen ? do they hell, too busy ordering pizza n mc donalds !!!

        • Finewine69

          GMO;s did not feed the world. That’s corporate propaganda

          • Gary

            No, but they have certainly HELPED to keep food production up to match the demand of the world population.

            Stevie is on point where the problem lies within the population first. Food production practices without the use of GMO crops will NOT keep up with the food demand of the world.

          • Derp

            There’s also a divide between how much people ARE consuming and what we actually need to consume to thrive. People are getting fat on empty calories. Populations are already declining somewhat. Over consumption of unhealthy food is.

            It’s not the government’s job to control population, anyway, and how do you think they would go about doing that? Fair and equitably? Not likely.

            Could you imagine?

            Licenses to have children, and then forced abortions if someone ends up with twins?

            To say nothing of religious, racial, gender and political discrimination, all of which would likely come in to play. Who needs to redraw country lines to get the outcome you want when you can just phase out the groups you don’t want voting.

            By the way, an increase of twin births from pregnancies not involving fertility treatment has recently been linked to hormones in – we’ve come full circle – food.

          • Derp

            *”Population is not the problem, over consumption is” is what I meant to say.

      • Lola Aileen Vanslette

        Unless you build a greenhouse, which is what we are doing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

      Yes, “someone” should. Why not you? By voting with your $$. Shop mindfully, and accept the fact that if you are going to support local producers you are sometimes going to have to do without, or reprogram your diet, because certain products are seasonal and won’t be available year-round.

    • belaglik

      The FDA is a trusted government agency–just like the IRS.

      • Lola Aileen Vanslette

        Sarcasm, I presume. :D

    • Lola Aileen Vanslette

      Yes! Monsanto’s former employees control it. Government is being controlled by Monsanto at this time.

    • NaturalHoney

      Please am a local buyer and seller of honey and i don’t know how to start marketing it please can someone direct me on online marketing

    • eyeswideopen

      Agree. And the FDA is not only compromised, it is in the back pocket of big corporations like Monstanto and big pharma

  • http://www.etsy.com/people/EraGlassCo?ref=pr_profile EraGlass

    This is infuriating!

    • http://www.facebook.com/connie.c.cook Connie C Cook

      If you are concerned and require local honey, with all pollen, perhaps you might produce it yourself. Even if you are deep in city central, there are methods. Put a neighborhood movement together to produce pure honey. Some one will know of a place you can begin keeping bees. The equipment needed is easily built and someone will bee willing to build the hives. It isn’t perfect, but an old washing machine can be converted into an extractor that works well enough, and if you cannot attract enough bees, they can be purchased. This almost guarantees pure honey, and even a few extra dollars to a complete income from your own business.

  • Barbara Daca

    Is it possible that what you are seeing is Monsanto honey that is heated and ultrafiltered not only so you can’t trace it but so can’t tell that it is made from GMO crops , you know the ones causing the bee hives to collapse?

    • Katita2009

      Wow, really? Did you not read the article? they just said the laundered honey comes mostly from China. And there’s no such thing as Monsanto honey. They’re in the seed business not the honey business. Besides it’s bees, not factories that make honey.

      • soahs

        Wow, really? Didn’t you read where bees are being killed after they feast on Monsato crops?

        • James Leavitt

          Please point out where in this article this is pointed out. I read the article and did not see any mention of bees and hives dying off due to GMO crops.

          • Lola Aileen Vanslette

            It wasn’t mentioned in this article, but it is common knowledge, since it has been all over the internet/media/government sites. Even Russia is threatening a world war if Obama doesn’t stop Monsanto from killing bees.

          • Robert Miles

            Common knowledge? Really? Do you even know which plants bees eat and pollinate? Since it’s “common knowledge,” then you should have no trouble telling me which crops these are.

          • AtlantaTerry

            Bees don’t “eat” plants.

          • Robert Miles

            I didn’t think this needed to be pointed out, but I guess I should have said “feed on” instead of “eat.”

          • colbey

            oh — is that some of that “common knowledge” then–that bees don’t “eat” plants? if so, then according to Bandit, it is completely false.

          • Bandit

            common knowledge is the kind that is formed from rumor, untruths and the media. It’s the last thing you should believe.

          • RS

            So if we say that it’s common knowledge that women get pregnant by having sex, is that a rumor, untruth and the media?

          • Jon

            Cite please!

          • dr.blais

            not in the article but the pesticides in the crops kill off the bees you can google

        • Robert Miles

          And which crops would those be exactly?

        • Teresa Geib Bacon

          ALL ROUND THE WORLD. OVER 6000 ALMOND GROWERS IN CA THIS YR HAD NO CROPS/NO BEES PEOPLE THAT DOUBT THIS BETTER GET W THE PROGRAM, NO BEES, NO CROPS, NO FOOD FOR THE FUTURE

          • Kathy Reich

            Stop screaming

          • Katy Harmon

            Teresa hon,, when you type in all caps it is the same as being so mad at someone lower case words are not enough to hit the person over the head, all caps is yelling or screaming at the person or persons writing. It’s a rule of letter writing.

        • MichelleV

          So true, and maybe they are being forced to do research; and not about being good people trying to do something good in the world.

        • MichelleV

          Actually, I don’t know how true Soahs statement is, I just believe it could be true.

      • Lola Aileen Vanslette

        Really? I am sure honey bees travel. Also, “Monsanto honey” isn’t a brand name, it is the product of contaminated seeds and plants that honey bees attempt to pollinate, thus the contamination of honey (even generic). That is why the bees are dying.

        • http://twitter.com/rhyncostilis Sofie

          Actually bees Do Not make an attempt to POLLINATE- they and other flying insects collect nectar and pollination occurs when the pollen from filaments transferred onto anther by insects…Reading some Botany will help you understand the pollination process…

        • Bandit

          your knowledge of basic biology is sadly lacking. There is a limit to how far a bee will travel from it’s hive.

          • Jon Stoski

            A 4 km radius from the hive.

          • colbey

            yes, that sounds about right. and then those hives are very often moved from area to area, from state to state. so, in essence, the bees travel quite far.

      • Liberty Middlesworth

        actually monsanto is in the bee industry. recently monsanto bought the largest bee research company in the U.S. As you pointed out, did you read the article? The real issue in this is the fact the factories are indeed taking out the nutritional and medicinal properties that make honey, honey. Those properties are also the markers that identify honey. So after taking out the beneficial qualities/identity markers you are left with a product that is devoid of what makes honey ,honey. Leaving another dilemma of ,if its not honey,what is it? which cannot be answered in most cases. One more tidbit ,is that if there is such a thing as monsanto honey it is no doubt taken from the sick and dying/dead colonies from which the bees main source was the unnatural GMO crops.

        • Bandit

          OMG. A bee research company, the operative word being “research” not honey production for shop shelves.
          Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps they are actually interested in trying to find out why bees are in decline.
          Everyone is so set on hating that company that the thought of them trying to do something good is beyond comprehension.

          No I’m not pro Monsanto.

          You dont seem to have read the article correctly. Honey is honey regardless of what is done to it, but by definition the ultra filtered stuff cant be called honey because all particles have been removed from it so that it’s origin can’t be traced. This honey seems to originate from countries like China and India.
          Pollen in the honey is what allows it to have it’s origin traced.

          • eyeswideopen

            the pollen also gives it more nutritional value

          • Mo

            If you believe that “Honey is honey regardless of what is done to it”, you only read what you wanted to see. If it’s not honey, it’s HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP – made from GMO corn. If that doesn’t implicate Monsanto, you’re blind.

          • MichelleV

            I’m with you on that.

          • Katy Harmon

            Me too Mo.

          • Jo

            Greek honey is the best that I have tried

          • BludBaut

            You don’t really think Monsanto bought the company to do something good, do you? If so, you’ve not paid enough attention to Monsanto’s deeds. They’re only trying to protect their own interests. “Good” is whatever increases their power and wealth… with the government’s collusion.

          • MIchelleV

            I’m totally with you!!!!

          • Richard

            I hope so, I sure would not want to own a stock of a company trying to destroy itself…

          • MichelleV

            Pollen also gives medicinal factors, so them taking it out, well I guess than, we are being deceived of health benefits. Plus, what about the antibiotics and other sweetener. i.e. corn syrup. GMO! Therefore this is not honey, it’s junk! For the Research, well, I guess that could be good news, but honestly, I really don’t trust one bit of Massanto. I believe they have there own agenda, and our health is of NO concern to them. It’s all about money. Seriously, I can’t believe that Massanto is also in the honey business! UGG. I guess, I need to do a little research on this factor before I really get worked up some more, and I also start blabbing about it to everyone; I like to try and make sure that I have the most truthful info.

        • mindylove4588

          Im loving this conversation ! Great article . Very informative , full of knowledge along with the commits on gmo’s and monsantos bee research company . Thanks for the info !

      • Lurl

        Some people just can’t read. I buy two types of honey wholesale. The good goes for a great price and the lesser variety is a lot cheaper. People really don’t care they buy cheaper not by are how it is gotten, made or anything else. I have people who buy the chicken that is imported from China because it is a dollar less than domestic chicken.
        I don’t care they get what they want…cheap and I get what I want…money.
        So

        • dimsums

          The United States does not import chicken from China!

    • Kelly

      Good grief people, she asked a simple question, “IS IT POSSIBLE”. *I* think anything is possible these days, Barbara and I wouldn’t be surprised but as the article stated bee keepers really have no control where their bee’s go.

      • Hazel Pj Grey

        You need to learn more about bees before making random statements like that

    • Lydia Brindley

      HAVEN’T THEY JUST ACQUIRED SHALL WE SAY A BEE RESEARCH CENTRE ??? WONDER WHY , THEY COULD GENETICALLY MODIFY THEM !!! I WOULD PUT NOTHING PAST THAT SCUM OF THE PLANET

      • Kathy Reich

        No one reads it when it’s all in caps

    • Robert Miles

      uh……no, that’s not how it works. Bees work with flowering blossoms of the type that require pollination by anthophilae. This does not include the grain seedcrop that monsanto works with.

      • Lyrrad Thims

        actually Robert Miles I think you will find that monsanto works with all seeds and has the agenda of patenting the worlds seed population and once they acquire the patent to the specific seeds they are then genetically modified to not produce seed..hence, goodbye seed crops.! WHY? so that everyone on the planet has to buy seeds from them IN ORDER TO PRODUCE ANY RELATED FOOD SOURCE…. and by the way if you research GMO’s and the catastrophic effects on the dna of all living things, I think you’ll agree that the introduction of GMO’s into our eco-system is basically biological warefare. But, please do the research for yourselves and avoid the mainstream ‘science’ because you will not get anything but lies protecting the big corporations that are supporting monsanto and the likes of…… knowledge is power it’s time to wake up :)

        • MichelleV

          I believe this to be true. Thanks for posting.

    • Magnus Thunderson

      I Hate GMO not because of the genetics so much but the over doing of roundup and pesticides which is much more the reason for the collapsing hives

      in fact we been genetically changing plants which is why medieval recipes often do not work now as for example carrots back then required 4 to 5 hours of cooking and if you tried that now you have carrot mush and we been altering our crops and and live stock for well over a thousand years but it did backfire one as the Irish potato famine came around due to crop manipulation which resulted in a variety of potato that was much shorter to cook so thus I to became the primary crop but that backfired as it got the blight and the other 3 variety that were grown could not meet the need at all so that one waring of GMO food especially with the current tech allows the changes much fast and more massive so even more scarey not to mention the weeds that are being 100% immune to round up as it very true in this world that what does not kill you makes you stronger

      • anon

        And none was understood for there wasn’t a period to be found…

        • guest

          thank you

      • Norm WIlson

        huh?

      • health nut

        I have yet to see anyone try to mate a frog with a plant. How do the vegetarians feel about having frog chromosones in their plants.?

  • http://www.rangehoney.com Steve Goldstein

    There are only a couple of beekeepers in Texas that still do honey the old fashion way…that’s what we sell.However Packers honey is sold all the time at farmers markets across the country. there is no guarantee that it is pure natural honey. In most cases it has been blended with all kinds of other honeys and filtered and heated to bottle it quicker. Ask questions and be aware of where you buy your honey. It has become a quick buck for scammers out there to sell local raw natural honey on the label, when actually it came from all over the country and has no nutritional value… Good Luck!

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  • likalaruku

    I only buy honey from festivals & markets these days; people who own their own bees & feed them stuff like oranges, cranberries, grapes, & raspberries for different flavors. Some even sell toast spreads that mix honey with maple or cinnamon. 

  • Penny

    Is there a follow-up on this article? Maybe something more being done about this?

  • Janet Wilson

    Don’t ever let your friends and loved ones eat store-bought honey.
    There are tons of local beekeepers selling raw, natural honey. If you don’t know one, ask a local beekeeping club who is selling local honey. They are out there.
    Meanwhile, help the bees by planting lots of bee friendly flowers in your gardens:Scilla, calendula, sunflowers, bachelor’s buttons, herbs, fennel, Joe Pye Weed, mustard, Caryopteris.
    And think of keeping your own bees!

  • baldtoolguy052

    Time to close the borders, repeal NAFTA & remove Favored Nation Status from China…YES!  They STILL enjoy that label.

    Is there any more reason to question that the US Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business??  We need to take back control and not through the self-serving front of so called Tea Party Characters claiming to be working for the American People….they are simply another wolf in 3 piece sheep’s clothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thothknows Terrelle Hartley

    Great post!

  • thosewomens

     Well said. 

    The rapidly expanding government maze of idiocy/regulations is more lethal to our society than any other contaminants to our health and well being.  The bees know what they’re doing, and don’t need human intervention that interferes with the process. 

  • sidneyr1

       simple answer money lobyest paying off the right people .   just like bpa in foods .. just plain bribes

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.chesterman.127 Sarah Chesterman

    My god, a hella long article with tons of repetition – yet nothing on what happens to the BEES who PRODUCED it?
    I guess that answers whether the raw food site i was just on is vegan!

    ‘Be sustainable – Go vegan’

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicole-Vanover/100000907453186 Nicole Vanover

    So what brands are the real ones??

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000539917071 Jeff Turnage

    I’m surprised they were able to test individual honey packets from KFC.  The KFC packets I’ve seen say they contain corn syrup.  Not honey at all.

  • Larsar Recticuli

    There is only one way to have RAW Honey. Set up your own Apiary which is not hard to do.   However I wouldn’t be advertising your intentions.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-James/100000892166766 Raymond James

    I have eaten ehe honey sauce but do not care for it. If you like real honey and cannot have your own bees then look for a local honey producer to get honey from. I profer my own honey or that of a friend any day.  Besides the taste I think eating local honey is good for the local ecconomy and the environment.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenny.fuerstenau Jenny Fuerstenau

    I wonder if the same scrutiny should apply to “maple” syrup?

  • Chriscomments

    It would be great if you posted the results of the tests. There is an easy way to support companies using good practices–name them!

  • http://twitter.com/ravengoth jayne

    I would like a list of honey that IS healthy, so I know what to buy and who to thank for doing a good job.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ILVJ7STLHBHGI6ZTRMAIHAUN3I fayez

    If sugar syrup was adultrated with pollen grains how can such adultration be detected?

  • spiderweb4

    They should bring this to Dr. Oz and his T.V. show will get the public aware and we might have s better chance of some government – FDA action taken.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.ellsworth.96 BIll Ellsworth

     I would definitely say the FDA is compromised. They have plenty of time and interest to send armed Federal agents to bust Raw Milk “dealers”, plenty of time to harass vitamin companies and attempt to threaten people who advocate antibacterial properties of silver, but when it comes to tainted crap from China, nope. Can’t be bothered.

  • Kristin B Knudsen

    Thank you!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3HOPBOGOIABLIKNBCL37ZYMECY rosiglow

    I think I will buy comb in.  I wonder if they can fake that too?

  • Katarzyna

    I knew there was a difference based on texture and taste. I always get local,the high pollen count helps with allergies too.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IFRZCILRMBBO77G7MSEPD6YRRM BreB

    wow! this is horrible…but as far as honey goes I have seen this first hand. When I was younger, my mom and I worked at a honey farm, bottling and labeling honey containers (Clarks Honey, commonly sold in health food stores here in CO). When we went into to work every morning the vats were already filled and ready to be dispensed. One day we found a whole bunch of empty corn syrup tubs sitting in the workspace. We asked Clark about it and the next day we were fired.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steele.robinson.7 Steele Robinson

    Have you seen the articles where the people that work at places like Monsanto will only eat organic food! WOW

  • http://www.facebook.com/lethe.erisdottir Lethe Erisdottir

    Yes, it’s the notorious Chinese honey-launderers. Sorry, I just love that appellation.

    • Michael

      Umm, I would LIKE to have the Tide ultra-filtered out of my honey, if you please…

  • Lotus1922

    Kind of off-topic but I have a question: I keep finding dead bees outside my front door for about a year now. In the summer it looks like a bee holocaust out there, literally hundreds of dead bee bodies on the floor outside. It’s very distressing and I would like to know why this is happening. We have cats so we don’t use as much chemical stuff on the yard as we did in the past, and for the time being the problem is limited only to the front area, which is pretty plain as far as foliage that would either attract bees or be dangerous to them. I can’t really think of anything that’s changed that would suddenly be killing them— does anyone have any ideas?

  • Kundra Khan

    I knew there was a problem when I noticed my local honey would crystallize in about a month or three but the store bought brands would NEVER crystallize as long as I kept them… I would put a little warm water in the local honey and they were back to normal. Only sinful man could find a way to goof up something so good and simple as honey!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000212592322 Dani Johnson

    I’m curious about the statement below. Regardless of processing, honey is non-perishable. It will not spoil. Right?

    “The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

  • Rajesh Kumar

    Buy honey only from Trader Joe’s, PCC or Local Farmers Market which should support the local beekeepers….

    Damn China & its cheap polluted crap…

  • jonnyD Ninny Cheese

    wow. . . i didn’t know that, that’s really interesting. . . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.vincent1 Julia Vincent
  • http://twitter.com/combatTVgirl Stevie Masen

    Wow, really? Since we all seem to be sarcastic here…she asked where in THIS article…

  • LSSJ1223

    TropicalTraditions.com has raw organic honey! Where I get mine.

  • http://twitter.com/combatTVgirl Stevie Masen

    That’s probably a question for the National Honey Board (they commented above).

  • ib42

    The FDA is yet another tool in the bag or big business. What a farce this system has become…

  • BigBearU

    filter to improve shelf life? (yeah right….) i am pretty sure honey doesn’t go bad.

  • https://www.facebook.com/lovinight?ref=tn_tnmn Leslie

    The honey I buy from Smart & Final is made by Sun Harvest, it says 100% Honey 100% Guarantee, wonder how true it is, I just bought like 10 (5lb) bottles of it :)

  • Paula Suasa

    I bought at Vons Wild Mountain Brand that says raw 100 percent pure uncooked honey. But it says on the label that it is from U.S.A ,Argentina and Vietnam. Yet when I went to sprouts to buy honey the price was ridiculous. So is the label misleading here?

    • Jon

      Vietnam is a known trans shipper of fake/adulterated Chinese honey.

  • mjk

    the idea that honey will have a longer shelf life if filtered is ludicrous! Raw honey does NOT spoil! It’s when you mess with nature that the problems develop!

    • Jon

      Ultra filtration eliminates crystallization and granulation of honey. That extends its shelf life.

      • Mary Wyckoff Martin

        I don’t care if it is crystallized. It melts in my tea, just fine.

  • Lola Aileen Vanslette

    So, honey purchased at the grocery store or in restaurants that claim to be honey is not healthy? Great to know the company I have been buying from because honey is a natural healer has been conning me all this time. Thanks Sue Bee!

  • Tom Coppers

    The corrupt and lazy FDA exposed as frauds again. It’s time to put them in prison.

  • govtgonewild

    Biotech GM Seeds Buccaneers destroy India’s Rice Economy …
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/biotech-gm-seeds…india-s-rice…/4230‎

    by Arun ShrivastavaDec 21, 2006 – India is a centre of origin for rice and the centre for diversity for rice … Thus, the big seed companies [in this instance Monsanto, operating …

  • Frank James Wilson

    I would be incensed, except that honey is not something that anyone who has an adquate source of calories otherwise should eat.

  • slapppy

    We keep buying and supporting Chinese products. Eventually our food source will come from China. This is a country known for making fake products for just about everything. Remember the Rat Meat revelation? Come on America wake up!

  • Chloe
  • QuiteObviously

    We kept hives for years, but corn has displaced clover where we live so we really can’t produce as we once could.

    Blaming Monstanto and the Corn industry for killing bees doesn’t really make sense to bee keepers. Bees don’t touch corn. I can see pesticides. The “Organic” farm next door sprays 8 or 9 times/year and I really think that has taken a toll on our bees. Rotenone is used by regular and organic farmers, but the regular farmers only use it once. The “organic” guy sprays it every couple of weeks.
    Normal farmers don’t spray during bloom when bees are active.
    If you want to see dead bees, put your hives near an organic farm. We aren’t the first to notice this and since organic is huge business, no one wants to talk about it.

    • Sue French

      How can they have Certified Organic labels if they use pesticides?

  • jaslinc

    Winnie the Pooh, pollen-less? Honey bees dying. Chinese adulterants – it’s “their turn” to make a buck now. Can we stumble on? Sure but we used to walk up-right and sleep better too.

  • Lydia Brindley

    WE USE TO EAT REAL FOOD ONCE NOT ANY MORE…STRAWBERRIES ARE AS HARD AS APPLES, NOTHING IS WORTH EATING :(

  • Lydia Brindley

    THE F’ING CHINESE SEE FIT TO DUMP ALL THEIR SHIT ONTO THE REST OF US…BUT LETS FACE IT IF PEOPLE DIDN;T BUY IT THEY WOULD SOON STOP , THEY KILL N EAT N EXTERMINATE THEN POISON THE REST OF US WITH THE SHIT THEY PRODUCE ,,, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH XX

  • popoahi

    is there a way the consumer can do a simple test at home to see if the stuff we buy at the market is real honey???
    or can someone instruct us layman how to do a cheap and easy test???
    what should real honey be on the PH scale for starters??
    we have simple home kits to check fish for ciguatera poison in minutes before we eat..
    lets make a kit to check if it it’s real honey and not corn syrup or a dilution… can we see if it contains real pollen not dust with a magnifying glass or jewelers lupe???
    I’m talking to my Safeway manager about this,ha,ha its a start?

  • alcawthon@aol.com

    Thats right. You cannot lie on the internet.

  • Corvus

    It’s not a Hoax. Here in Europe we are fighting against Roundup and other chemicals product used on heavy industrial farming. The products just kill our bees. The product cause neurological disaster that do not allow the bee to find it’s way home. So they just die. Thanks god we still have real organic honey and do not trade with china.

  • Start your own backyard bees!

    Start your own backyard bees group in every city whereby home owners raise bees in their backyards with a group support system, it will expand the number of pollinators in the area, help bees survive as 50% are dying off yearly, educates the public and its alot of fun to work with bees plus you get your own honey that you know what is in it and can gift it to others no better way to ensure your food is safe than do it yourself, grow a garden while you are at it, its good for the soul!

  • cloa513

    If Congress wanted to certify honey and a whole range of products they could do that by sponsoring a bill and passing it to setup an organisation to set food standards . This plea BS shows they don’t care at all. It would hard for Obama to reject that.

  • Rob

    How is it that FDA gets to simply shrug off pleas from Congress. Why not put sanctions on their funding until they fall into compliance. And specifically target funding that pays the salaries of the administrators so that it doesn’t punish the average worker who doesn’t have policymaking authority. A year or two – maybe – but 36 freaking years? Unbelievable!!

  • PD MacGuire

    I always recommend Goya Honey, with the little piece of honeycomb in the pot. It tastes and looks like honey fresh from a hive. It actually looks kind of gross, if you like your honey to look like apple jelly. Best of all, it’s fairly cheap. When you see “Acacia Honey” it is probably European, and made with the pollen of the Black Alder (False Acacia) Tree.

  • tanksbb

    Ultra filtration must be a cheap way of running up the price for honey, otherwise I can’t think of one reason to do it.

  • AgentOrange VietnamVeteran

    As an Agent Orange-disabled Vietnam veteran [1968-69] and brother of a dead A/O-poisoned brother [died 1985, age 39], imagine how thrilled I am with Monsanto…NOT!!! If I were a conspiracy theorist and a sci-fi fan, I’d swear that alien chemists have found a way to get us, with their ‘help,’ to fatten us up for their own dark needs…I’m just sayin’…but whatever the method or outcome of The GMO-Corn Fructose-Glyphosate trifecta, we be gettin’ fat FAST and unhealthy at the same time. Don’t those facts mean anything? To those to whom it should mean something? Vote at the polls, vote with your bucks: support local farmers’ markets, buy as much local oprganic as possible and read labels and demand ingredient/origin labelling 100%.

  • http://www.joshuabfarrell.com/ JB Farrell

    Well done article. Thank you for compiling.

  • Elry

    what about: Win-Co, Bulk, Honey?????????

  • dionysus

    wouldn’t it be possible / easy to place local pollen into foreign honey to circumvent pollen tests?

  • Jon

    It’s a convenience store that happens to have a pharmacy attached to it. IDIOT!

  • diamond

    So where can I get real honey from? ? Here in Los Angeles? ?

    • Nancy

      Try your local farmer’s market.

  • willcommentforfood

    Buy from local producers, that’s best, and avoid corporate brands. You’ll sure notice the difference in taste, omg the organic local ‘brands’ are superior and super yummy. Plus, they keep the pure elements including pollen, that are good for your health.

  • umpire9

    Wow, this is effin’ KRAZY!
    Thanks for making me aware of this!
    From now on I’ll only buy raw honey at a healthfood store.

  • RF

    now that GMO or something near that…..people claim they buy pure honey ought to check out the honey in which they sell…to me it sounds like they are out to sell the mighty dollar…sucks…..my honey comes from a bee farm….just like somebody said,…if it is in a box or on the inside rows in the grocery store it is not for you…the healthy stuff is on the out side of the rows….produce fresh,bakery fresh,meat fresh……and only thing is the frozen vegatables….enough said

  • Nancy

    I realize this story is almost two years old but considering that Ernie Groeb of Groeb Farms is a liar and a criminal, you may want to put an update on it regarding Groeb and their illegal importing of Chinese honey. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/07/173737521/nations-biggest-honey-packer-admits-laundering-chinese-honey

  • Nina

    Most honey that I have seen in the stores say pure honey

  • Marissa

    Yes! Support your local beekeeper and their CLOSE associates. Buy RAW Honey!!

  • Gr8 Grampy

    Thank you for the investigation. I buy a product called Really Raw Honey which obviously has bee particals and plant particals. It is not cheep but I am pleased with the results.

  • Ellis Slack

    In the article they told which honey brands NOT to purchase, I want to know which ones passed the test, Dumb article.

    • Cameron Purdie

      They did say most organic brands passed. Your best bet is always going to be buying local, though. Find somebody in your town/county who owns bees and sells jars out of their garage or something.

  • Jbs Beau

    What you are all missing is; Corn, rice, cane and other syrups are very inexpensive. Add 10-50% of these sweeteners to real honey and most can not tell the difference. It is called adulteration, just like the olive oil industry. Problem is that most companies don’t care, if they test for it and find “funny honey” then they have to reject it, so they would rather just turn a blind eye. If you think your honey nut cheerios are sweetened with honey, think again. They wanted nothing to do with a simple means to check the validity of the honey. We invested 100′s of thousands of dollars to make an inexpensive easy to use analyzer, most the big honey companies wanted little to do with it, ask yourself why?
    China infiltrated the market with funny honey and that has now become the standard that all others have to meet to compete. Companies that take the high road will have real product but at a higher price.

  • thom

    Can the Chinese buy a few tubs of organic honey from a US roadside stand and add in a microliter of it to each gallon of honey they process, thus essentially stealing the identity of a US, homegrown honey?

  • Ester

    for anyone doubting the connection between bee death’s and insecticides: http://globalnews.ca/news/541628/ottawa-hears-concerns-about-honeybees/

  • sunshine

    flea mkts and local farmers mkts only.

  • Sansher

    buy your honey from a local producer at the farmers market, the local chain stores cant be trusted.

  • Allie

    [The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”] [“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey,"] WHAT LOADS OF SHIT! Raw honey, properly packaged will outlast us all! It can last for hundreds of years. DA FUQ is wrong with these “people” (Soul-less douchebags being the more accurate species…)

    • Cameron Purdie

      Nobody is going to buy crystallized honey off the shelf.

  • Xinyi Hong

    No. because
    this is an act of avoiding the responsibilities. They removed all the pollens
    from the honey to avoid any responsibilities from them. This is no way for the
    analyst to trace the origins of the honey when there’s all pollen removed. however, there is also someone voice up that it is nothing related to the pollens in making honey as it is made up from nectar and pollens is just the byproduct when bees gather nectar. so i personally think this is a very contraversial topic to be discuss with.

  • Brenda Owens

    OMg….now I have to add “worry about the quality of my honey” to my list…thanks China!

  • maddy

    Buy local honey…………..carried in health food stores. Don’t trust the conventional chains.

  • George’s honey

    My husband and I are bee keepers and this morning we were discussing the ideas of investing to ultra filter our honey. Thanks for the wonderful article, you’ve helped us decide to keep our honey the way it is. Buy the way, I prefer my honey with less filtering, my allergies have gone way down since consuming our own honey.

  • Greg Barrett

    Very soon processed food will be on the run.

  • Beatrice

    The scary thing is, the vast majority of people have no idea what real honey is or its benefits. I NEVER purchase cheap honey. Even if I spend a little more, it’s totally worth it. I’ve actually healed pretty bad wounds with it.

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  • Marat Ismagilov

    the same situation happened this year in Bashkiria(Ural region of Russia). Suddenly some very cheap honey flooded market and our brand – Bashkir honey became 2times cheaper. Many beekeepers considering to quit this business.

  • Bonnie

    The point of using honey to fight off pollen allegeries is for the pollen that’s supposed to be in honey. It’s a biological way of “fighting fire with fire.” Wow, thank you for this article; I will remain faithful to the honey brand that I have been using for the past 7 years, which brand by the way, is not on your list of “honey” without pollen. Thanks for the great work you have done!

    • Mary Wyckoff Martin

      Exactly! I am lucky that our Walmart carries two brands of honey I can trust. One is produced near me and the other is on the article’s approved list (Golden Heritage). I also heard about how eating honey, containing pollen, improves one’s ability to fight allergies. I think it has helped me.

  • http://devourcatering.com/ DevourCatering

    what a convoluted mess, seriously

  • beefunny

    where can I get roundup ready bees to plant ?…..got bout 50 acres ready for them

  • Vierotchka

    I buy my honey directly from local beekeepers.

  • Joe Joe

    This is more of the leftist socialist agendas and no one realizes it. The democrats want people sick period.

    • David

      This has nothing to do with left, right, democrat, republican, socialism, capitalism. They are just two wings on the same bird. Same people manipulating masses. LOOK UP CODEX Alimentarius, Monsanto, NDAA, Agenda 21, etc. Listen to what Bill Gates have to say about population control and vaccines. WAKE UP

    • Ernest Allen

      Please tell me that you didn’t reproduce.

  • gmax777

    “It’s been proven that GMO does not increase yield”. mo that is BS. While I have a lot of problems with how some plants are being modified, they do increase yield, reduce energy requirements through less plowing to get rid of weeds and increase yields from less acreage. That is why farmers use them. America eats the cheapest junk food in the world because US customers buy the cheapest product being sold. We buy soy sauce without a drop of soy in it, because it’s cheaper. We buy olive oil adulterated with other oils, because it’s cheaper. We buy sugar syrup labeled as honey, because it’s cheaper. It’s our own damn fault. It must be nice in your fantasy world where all problems are somebody else’s fault and there are no consequences from your own actions. That being said, a small fine of $100 for selling adulterated olive oil, false soy sauce, or sugar water labeled as honey would be appropriate. On EVERY mislabeled bottle or packet shipped.

  • David

    Not fake. Look up CODEX Alimentarius, Monsanto, NDAA, Agenda 21, etc. Listen to what Bill Gates have to say about population control and vaccines. WAKE UP

    • Ernest Allen

      Loosen the foil at least every four hours.

      • D.W.

        And you go graze on grass somewhere you sheeple you.

  • David

    LOOK UP CODEX Alimentarius

  • Raymond Brown

    Hmmm… I’m sad to say that there seem to be a lot of poorly informed people on this thread; or people who will just take statements as gospel without researching.
    1. CCD is still being researched. The closest to a diagnosis that has been evidenced is that it is caused by a combination of pesticides, disorienting bees and preventing them from returning to their hives. Once foragers stop returning, a hive dies. However, there is no concrete diagnosis for CCD. It is still being researched.
    2. Pollen removal is a tactic used to avoid source identification. If the pollen is not in the honey, you can’t identify which plants were used by the bees and where those plants reside. Pollen removal is done through ultra-filtration.
    3. There is no other valid reason to use ultra-filtration other than pollen removal.
    4. Honey, even unfiltered honey, will last indefinitefly without spoilage. It will have no expiration date and no definitive end to its shelf life. Removing pollen does not increase shelf life.
    5. Normal filtration (200 microns and bigger) will make crystal clear honey without the use of ultra-filtration.
    6. Monsanto, GMO, nor genetic modifications of any type have ever been linked to CCD, honey contamination, honey degradation, or any bee disease.
    7. Since ultra-filtration’s only purpose is to hide the identity of the honey’s source country, it should be (and is) banned in the U.S., even though the FDA does not enforce this ban at the borders.8. Despite statements to the contrary, no U.S. manufacturer, producer, or processor of honey and honey products has ever provided proof that ultra-filtration occurs on U.S. soil.
    9. Pollen removal from honey does remove some of the health benefits and nutrition from honey.

    To combat foreign influences on the U.S. Honey market; to ensure that foreign countries cannot flood the market; to ensure that the highest quality honey is sold in the U.S., and to minimize the chances of finding anti-biotics and other illegals substances in your honey; you should only buy honey that is guaranteed to come from honey bee farms here in the U.S. This will also ensure that there are enough hives in the U.S. to maintain pollination of our food crops.

    • Maggie

      Thank you for a sensible and informative post, Raymond.
      Reading the label carefully on my next purchase will at least assure me that I’m buying US honey, but I think talking to the folks at my local health food store might be the best bet to get more information as to which process was used in production.

  • BludBaut

    The research has already been done. You just haven’t looked for it.

    I’m surprised by the ignorance of people here. Instead of taking just a few minutes BEFORE RESPONDING to check the facts, they pop off with nonsense known to be wrong.

    I don’t understand why people don’t grasp that they HAVE THE INTERNET and CAN PROVE whether their opinions are right or wrong in short order. Yet, they choose to show their ignorance and refusal to do a modicum of research.

    These search terms: “bayer syngenta monsanto systemic poisoning killing bees” will show Bayer’s (in Europe) and Syngenta’s culpability with their systemic insecticides. Monsanto’s guilt in killing bees is not quite so clear. Bees that have become resistant to Roundup have been confiscated by the government, showing the government’s collusion which was already clear by Monsanto employees going back and forth between working for the FDA and Monsanto.

    Monsanto has long been suspected of harming the bees with their GMOs but Bayer’s and Syngenta’s guilt has already been proven.

    Monsanto bought a Bee Research Firm to skew the research and hide the facts from the public. I know that’s a pretty serious charge but Monsanto has already PROVEN (in case after case after case) that they care only about money regardless of the consequences and harm their product causes. They will ruin anyone who stands in their way, with the government’s collusion. Thank God there was one good judge in Canada that gave justice to one farmer.

    Again, it just takes a bit of Internet research and ignoring whoever is shown to lie and stick with those who show themselves credible.

    Obama is working hard to destroy America. His Republican policies have out-Republicaned the Republicans and the idiot blacks who voted for him turned a blind eye and held their tongue as he gave rich white men hundreds of BILLIONS of *future* tax-payer dollars (because we’re too broke to pay the debt now).

    If you want to broaden your understanding of who has bought off all the politicians, got to http://kahudes.net/ and watch at least a half-dozen of Karen’s interviews on YouTube. She was a 20 year employee of the World Bank until she was fired for whistle-blowing. Were it not for her having alerted so many people to the crimes of the World Bank, I’m sure she would be dead. They don’t want to kill her now because it would make too many people rise up and draw attention to the crimes of the bankers. They own and will own the politicians until the public becomes a justice-demanding mob. Only then will your prostituted politicians do their job.

  • Raymond Brown

    Roger, I’m not sure what you’re calling a hoax. I’m a little confused by that. I’m real familiar with the USDA’s different definitions for filtered and strained honey and the scoring system for the grades. And, I’m familiar with ultrafiltration. And, I’m trying to understand what you believe is the hoax part. Is it the assertion by the article that you may not be getting real honey at the store? I’m not calling you on it. I’m just confused.
    Here’s what I do know… Ultrafiltration is the process of taking honey, adding water, heating it and filtering it at sub-micron levels under pressure. Then, reducing the water content back down to an FDA-graded level (usually less than 20%) and cooling the honey. While it is honey in the purest sense, the USDA no longer considers it honey and labels it as a sweetener. I believe the logic they use is that because the water added comes from a source other than the honey and that water may still exist in the honey after filtration, the end product is not completely honey,even though, before the process, the honey usually has the same moisture content as before filtration. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a source to cite. So, this must be taken as supposition on my part.
    The U.S. does not allow ultrafiltration to be used and still call the end result honey. When the criminal prosecutions occurred in 2011/2013, it was because ultrafiltered honey from China was imported into the U.S. with fake source information and intentionally faked Countries of Origin and under the label of “honey”. China honey has been banned not only because of chemical contamination, but also because the Chinese government subsidized it and attempted to run other manufacturers, mostly U.S. manufacturers, out of business by low-balling their prices.
    Anyway, those are the facts as I know them. None of that is a hoax. All of it, except where noted, is easily verifiable online.
    One other note… I did some additional research on the company that Monsanto bought. That company, Beeologics, sells an RNA-based product to reduce/ eliminate viruses through mites. To date, they have made one product. What is a little scary is that the product is, like most Monsanto products, based on genetic modification. A solution is ingested by bees, the then pass it on to the parasitic mites, which then get their virus transmission gene turned off… at least that’s their story line. It is disconcerting, to me anyway.
    Monsanto has also established an Independent Bee Advisory Board which is supposed to act independently in keeping Monsanto informed on the state of the world’s “Bee-dom”, my word, not theirs. I don’t know what advantage the Board gives beekeepers like me, except to employ some of us on the Board, for whatever that’s worth. I’m not on the Board, never seen them, don’t know who is, and don’t know what they’ve done so far. But, there you have it.
    Anyway… That’s all… Hope that clarifies things.

  • Rinku

    Is pure honey become freezed under 5 degree celcius?

  • Rich Helm

    Is the title “Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey” misleading?
    It’s still honey, just without pollen in it.

    • EuphoriCrest

      No. read the entire article. Ultra-filtered “honey” can be fructose syrup, rice syrup, etc. with artificial flavor and color that has never been near a bee.

  • Bill Volckening

    I can condense the article to just two words: BUY LOCAL.

  • Organic Rusty

    Don’t worry. Monsanto is already working on genetically modifying almond trees to be self-pollenating, a crop they relies heavily upon bee pollination (cynicism intended).

  • Andre Leonard

    The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

    Sad to see Kroger Stores Value Brand on the list. With all the private branding opportunities, they must and have to do better.. People will pay more for good quality..

  • PeterD

    From what this article ways, it is because ultra-filtered honey is so cheaply produced in China, that even with the ultra-filtration, it can still be sold cheaper than non-filtered US honey.

  • Linda Adsit

    LIke so many other things, honey has been processed to be pretty. Examples: yellow margarine, snowy white flour and sugar, red candy, yellow soda pop. Commercialism destroys food. Honey was/is filtered to make it more attractive, as well as to make it easily pourable, which makes consumers happy. Unfiltered honey will not squeeze through the honey bear spout. We were ignorant about pollen, and believed it caused allergies, i.e. spring fever. So we ate filtered, crystal clear honey for decades. It’s a commerical thing. Filtering honey makes it an added-value product, meaning they can sell it twice, so to speak. There is quite a market for bee pollen, originally in health food strores, and now in supplements which sell for a small fortune. Sounds a bit like extortion to me, selling us the inferior processed honey with an option to purchase what we really want for an exorbitant price. Typical encyclopedia salesman tactic. One could also think mafia. To make matters worse, be aware, some honey is also mixed with high fructose corn syrup, making it pour easily, giving it a bland flavor to please those who don’t like honey, and making it unhealthy to eat, and this fact is not on the label. The FDA considers it a “processing” requirement, and NOT an ingredient.

  • MichelleV

    Question to you all, where is this research document. Did any of you post it’s link, because I’m not sure I would be even reading the same one that is being discussed. I also have not yet found on Google that Massanto makes honey, nor did I find a Massanto Honey Research. Can anyone post a link? Thank you.

  • Cullen Riggs

    This is shocking! Like the article said, the only reason to modify honey and remove the pollen is to cover up a bad product. Honey lasts nearly forever in it’s natural state (pretty sure ancient Egyptians didn’t ultra-filter their honey): http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life-1218690/?no-ist

  • josetony

    We need to remove the people working at the FDA because they are all ex-Monsanto employees. They dont care about people’s health and they are always protecting big corporations. Maybe we should eliminate FDA altogether and make a similar office in every state that could work independent from federal government. The way things are, for FDA purposes , we dont need any protection, Big business needs to be protected from us.

  • iliko

    I wish similar research is done in the UK market.

  • race_to_the_bottom

    Several years ago, I bought a can of cheap honey, labeled as coming from a half a dozen countries. It had a distinctive manure smell about it, and I returned it. Now I only buy honey produced in the US. Of course, they can lie about that, but it is harder to slap a “Made in the US” label on foreign honey than to just sell foreign honey “as is”. I actually buy Fred Meyer’s honey, and I have always found it to be first rate.

    There is another scandal which floats under the radar and that is the “Italian olive oil” scam. The Italians buy up bulk oil from god-knows-where, bottle it and label it “PACKAGED” in Italy. Did you catch that? Not “Product of”, but “Packaged in”. A lot of this is really high acid oil, and really inferior. Who knows what kind of quality control it was produced under.

    The BEST olive oil comes from the orchards in Northern California, from around Corning. The quality is always first rate, and the price is decent.

  • Mary Wyckoff Martin

    I read that by having a serving of honey, that contains pollen, every day, actually helps one become less sensitive to pollen. I think it has helped me this year. Cigarette smoke and dog dander still give me the typical allergic reactions that I expect, but being outside during high pollen count days has NOT bothered me like it used to. I buy local honey, also.

  • Roberta Morrison

    Most GMO seeds are pretreated with the pesticides that cause Colony Collapse Disorder. So while the seeds themselves might be safe for the bees, the pesticide they are coated with become part of the plant and do poison the bees.

    • Jon

      Cite please? I believe there may be pesticides on the seeds to protect them until they germinate and put enough roots down to defend against predator insects. I do not believe these are systemic pesticides that will be detectable at plant maturity. Also, I do not think this is a GMO specific issue.

  • Random Guy

    I like how some of the names are repeated depending on which store is selling them and how most are processed by the same parent company. It’s almost like they did absolutely no research to write this article…

  • pointer3109

    A list of the brands with pollen in them would be handy.

  • DeathMerchant

    Corruption is right up in your face these days and the perps see no reason to hide any longer. Why?? Because if you spread enough money around, no one in an official capacity gives a damn. The only thing wrong with the planet is that it has humans on it.

  • desert beekeeper

    I am a beekeeper in Arizona. Hard place to keep bees. There is a honey packer in Tempe AZ, who sells honey labeled as AZ honey. If you go to their business, there are thousands of honey drums from all over central and south America. Honey may be labeled as any 10% of its floral source, so bottlers by 90% cheap foreign honey and label it as the hard work of American beekeepers. Honey BOTTLERS have a strong lobby in congress. Small honey producers have no lobby.

    • SadieLee

      Thank you for this information about the 10% rule. I had no idea. Why does it have to be so hard for the consumer to get legitimate information about food?

  • VeeAyyyy Beach

    Farmers honey or field honey is a nutritional powerhouse, a great antibiotic treatment, and a remarkable treatment for things that ail us as we age. When foreign honey is shipped to the US it is heated and then a solvent like water id added to get a lose viscosity. That mix is pumped under pressure through filters to remove “contaminants” but really to mask it’s origin. Once filtered it may be heated again to reduce water content so that it look like real honey but all you have to do is taste it to know it is not field hive fresh. My Oma swears fresh honey in warm milk (sometimes with a bit of whiskey) before going to sleep cures all that ails us. She is 92 and going strong.

  • Darla Lamb

    any time I go to a store to buy honey, all I find is “Clover” Honey (made similar to the way you make it at home… with clover and sugar). All the bottles will say HONEY in big letters but in small print it will say Clover Honey. Be watchful everybody!!!! I prefer to buy only honey that has a honeycomb in it :)

  • NotConvinced

    I heard to Koch brothers are training killer bee Armys for taking over the United States if Justice Roberts doesn’t hand the election to a Republican like SCOTUS did for Chimpy the Decider. I heard it on Alex Jone’s show.

  • Elisa Cain

    So what is the bottom line? what honey should we buy!?!

  • Elisa Cain

    So bottom line, what honey should I buy to get the best benefits?

  • Carolyn Bachino

    This was written three years ago. What is the current state on this issue?