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[personal profile] ladyegreen
I've been reading about this from various sources over the last few weeks. This article has provided a list of honeys they have tested that is missing the pollen, obscuring where the honey came from and diminishing its quality.

Tests show most store honey isn't honey

If anyone else has further information they would like to share let me know, this interests me quite a bit. I find it rather unsettling that something as straight forward as honey is tampered with this way.

I've bought some of the brands listed, Sue Bee for one, because I don't always have an organic option available or I was on limited funds at the time. I'll have to do better in the future.

To be fair, a bit of a rebuttal from the otherside:

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.

Date: 2012-07-16 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] biscuit1001
Thank you for posting this! I'm passing it on.

Date: 2012-07-13 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you can find it, Y.S. Organic Bee Farms sells good organic honey. (Maybe it's even available online? I must research this...) Bonus: it's made right here in my motherland of Illinois (right in a town I'm even familiar with!). ;) I was most amused to discover it sold in the store I worked at while living in Florida.

I wonder too, if this isn't related to possible shortages due to Colony Collapse Disorder. Although we should never underestimate the power of the profit, that's probably how we wound up with HFCS shit in damn near everything...

Date: 2012-07-13 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have had great success with buying local raw honey that is affordable. I believe I paid $8 for the pint I have. But honey lasts me a long time because most of what I use it for is baking bread. Maybe look for a local beekeeper/farmer?

Date: 2012-07-13 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As Boynton says, many of the reports out there are over-dramatizing the impact of filtration. None of the beekeepers I know, from local guys using a pickup to national migratory guys using semi rigs employ ultrafiltration - it's unnecessary unless you absolutely want to launder your honey or remove it's floral character. Honey heated to improve flow and run through a fine filter will give almost the same clarity with regard to pollen, and retain the floral character. "Raw" honey is honey that is never heated above what the honey would encounter in the field when filtered (unless, of course, it's sold unfiltered with all incidental wax and bee bits left in). The guys I know will occasionally heat their honey to help speed the filtration process, but usually no higher than about 100 degrees. They certainly aren't adding water and then extracting it again - who has the time/money for that when the honey is so much more valuable as is?!

When this story first hit, it was right before the last CA State Beekeepers Association convention, and people were incredibly frustrated by the press honey was getting. The people in that organization have been working for years to limit illegal imports from places like China that employ these tactics, and now people are thinking any commercial honey is suspect. While the easiest way to avoid it is buying from your local beekeeper, the reality is that unless you're engaged in the honey laundering trade, it's just not a beneficial practice. And there's no reason any domestic beekeeper would find the practice profitable.


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