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Honey, Don't Say it's So!!


More Than 75% of all honey sold in grocery stores is no longer really Honey??!!

Corporate profit takes the front row again. Even something as natural and historically cherished as honey has to be processed until it is no longer the thing it used to be.

Food Safety News conducted tests on honey sold at a number of outlets in 10 states and the District of Columbia. The honey was analyzed for pollen content by a leading mellisopalynologist, which is an investigator of pollen in honey, the results were that 76 percent of the total samples of honey had all of their pollen removed. 100 percent of samples packaged in small individual portions had all the pollen removed. In retrospect, all of the honey bought from farmers markets, co-ops and natural food stores, had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

Why Does This Matter?

Even the United States’ Food and Drug Administration says that any product that has been extremely filtered to remove all pollen is not honey. Unfortunately, the FDA does not actually check for pollen. Once the pollen is removed, there is no more nutritional value, it actually becomes a high glycemic index processed sugar, marketed as honey because of it’s origin. So it’s up to the consumer to become educated about what to purchase.

Bee pollen is full of protein, vitamins, minerals, lipids and carbohydrates. All of this nutritional value aside, it is said to help with stomach problems, allergies, anemia, low energy and other problems. Pollen from flowers is packaged by the honey bees with nectar and enzymes which turn it into a superfood.

Removing Pollen From Honey

The fact that pollen is removed from honey packers seems strange and bizarre, considering the fact that it costs money and reduces the quality. One company spokesman said “North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear” (a useless sound bite) and another said “processed honey…lasts longer on the shelves” (admitting it’s about the money). Ironically, crystalized honey isn’t spoiled, it’s just crystalized and can still be used.

It is about money after all and it goes far deeper than shelf life. Removing all pollen makes the ‘origin’ of the honey undetectable. A few years ago, it was found that imported Chinese honey was contaminated with chloramphenicol and other dangerous animal antibiotics. United States packers import about 120 million pounds of honey from Asian countries, several of which are known laundering points for Chinese honey.

Difficult to tell where honey comes from without Pollen

Regular filtering to remove bee parts, wax and debris is a normal process. There is no reason to do ultra-fine filtration except to remove pollen. Without the pollen, there is no real and sure way to find out where the honey came from. The big name companies such as the Sioux Honey Association which markets Sue Bee, Clover Maid and others, does not care to even comment on the issue.

However, Golden Heritage Producers, the nation’s third largest packer, says they take precautions to avoid laundered Chinese honey. A spokesman said, “The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we will not buy it, we will not touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.” However, Golden Heritage still removes all pollen in order to, as they say, increase shelf life.

So, it is safe to say that the big corporations selling their ‘honey’ on grocery stores shelves do not want pollen in the product. Is it any coincidence that lack of pollen leaves the origin undetectable and that only one packer said they take precautions to avoid laundered Chinese honey?

Terrible Shame for a Natural Product

It seems a terrible shame to subject honey—an amazing natural product valued for centuries—to the greed of corporate manufacturing, removing the thing that makes it real honey. It’s easier to identity the good, healthy raw honey when it’s marketed locally, rather than nationally. You want to see words on a label such as “raw and unfiltered”. Should your label talk about “if your honey crystalizes” that’s even better! Over processed honey will not crystalize.

We can combat this practice by buying honey made from local beekeepers and buying from packers that pledge their devotion to healthy, pollen-rich honey. Just another reason to shop small and buy local.


Jana Parrelli, Ayurvedic Health & Nutritional Coach

Terra Blanca Wellness Spa, LLC


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