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Honey, this “real” honey is not real honey.

Submitted by on November 30, 2011 – 9:35 pm10 Comments
raw honey

the real deal, with strawberries. yum

Unsettling news about honey has been making the rounds lately. Let’s start with this: according to the Food and Drug Administration any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. Why would anyone remove pollen from honey you might ask. Dubious honey makers ultra-filter honey to remove pollen thus making it impossible to determine where the honey originated.  Why would they do such a thing?  Well let’s talk about China.

graphic by Food Safety News

You see not long ago, when China was busy dumping products made with lead paint on American consumers,  they were also dumping heavily subsidized, super cheap honey within our borders.  They sold it so low that domestic producers would soon be put out of business, so we slapped a big fat import tariff on Chinese honey.  That will teach them a lesson we thought.  Not to be out smarted by the USA, China started ultra-filtering their honey so you could no longer tell where it originated.  Removing the pollen from honey is like removing your fingerprints or even DNA so to speak.  Then they moved the honey to neutral countries like Vietnam, which was not subject to the import tariff, where it was then sold to the US at those same cheap prices.

Crafty bastards.

No wonder Michele Bachmann says we should be more like China, heck they’re a modern day utopia.  Bless her heart. But I digress…

So anyhow, Food Safety News purchased 60 random samples of honey from a variety of regions and stores and the results are kinda scary:

The samples 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.

Not to mention the antibiotics found in honey from China, but you really have to read that whole article (and others) to get the full story. And note the many grocery store chains and companies like Sue Bees who refused to identify the country of origin of their honey or even answer questions.

Check this out, when I read this and a couple of other related articles I examined the honey in my kitchen.  No country of origin was noted and after tasting it I remembered why I consume so little honey, it doesn’t taste very good at all. So I threw it out and the next time I went to the grocery store (Kroger) I started reading the labels on all the honey jars.  Only one showed a country of origin and while many used terms like “natural” or “real”, only one said it was “raw” and “unfiltered”, North Dallas Honey Company, so that’s what I bought. And when I tasted it I immediately noticed how different it tastes from the stuff I have been serving my kids for the last near decade.  I also realized, perhaps for the first time, how much I really like honey, no kidding.  I’ve started putting it on toast and in tea on a daily basis.

So, for fun, go check out the label on the honey in your own kitchen and then taste a spoonful. Tell me what you think and what you found.  And to close on a bright note, check out the Honey Locator where you can find any kind of raw, unfiltered honey made by local producers all over the country.

- Chris

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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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