Honey Eaters Beware!

honey eaters beware plastic honey bear imageAccording to a recent report from the Food Safety News group, more than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t honey.

Here’s the deal: standard processing of honey involves removing the pollen, meaning that most commercial sources have had all of the pollen removed.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration states that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey.

Ultra-filtering is a process whereby the honey is heated, watered down and then forced through a very small filter under high pressure to remove the pollen. Who knows what happens to the good microbes in honey during this process.

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

They found that:

  • 76% of the samples bought at big-name groceries had all the pollen removed. These were stores like TOP Food & Drug, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
  • 100% of the samples from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
  • 77% of the samples from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
  • 100% of the samples from small individual service portions from Smucker’s, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

Ayurvedic Honey

Ayurveda suggests to eat only raw, unfiltered, uncooked honey. It is said that if honey is raw it can scrub impurities from the body. Once it is heated, it changes its properties and becomes an indigestible, toxic substance Ayurveda calls ama.

Beekeepers routinely spray diluted raw honey on the hive to calm the bees before managing the hive. Interestingly, in one report, when bee keepers sprayed cooked and filtered honey on the hive within 20 minutes a significant number of the bees sprayed were dead. While this was not a scientific study, it does allude to the drastic alteration that occurs in the processing of honey and concurrent removing of pollen.


1.  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.UgBxoZKTjSg



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* Please Note: We cannot effectively or legally answer personal health questions here, for further assistance please consider a personalized Ayurvedic Consultation.

  • Elena and Renee

    I’m not sure where I read a similar article about this, but it was about a year ago. The one I read went on to say that the main reason the pollen was pulled from the honey was so it’s origin could not be identified. Many ‘producers’ buy honey from china and do not want it traced back to there.

  • ForestFawn

    You say in your article about honey that, “Once it is heated, it changes its properties and becomes an indigestible, toxic substance Ayurveda calls ama.” Does this include honey that is put into tea and other very hot beverages?

    • John Douillard

      Hot tea is typically ok if it is not boiling. It is a good idea to let it cool a bit before adding your honey.

  • Tongkat Ali

    Many thanks for this article.
    I was in Whole Foods this weekend and purchased Buckwheat Honey based
    on Dr. Oz Recommendation for it’s Antioxident properties.
    Notwithstanding, I intially went into Whole Foods looking to purchase Coconut Palm Nectar
    or Coconut Crystals (coconut sugar).
    There were rows and rows of Honey and Agave. Unfortunately, Agave has gotten BAD reviews from Dr. Mercola.
    I settled for Honey. Although, I’m a Raw Foodist not a Raw Vegan Foodist. I love Honey.
    I remember passing this BIG Contraption in Whole Foods that dispensed Raw Honey.
    I chuckled to myself, YEAH RIGHT !!!!!!!!!!
    ??? Is it SAFE to buy the Raw Honey from Whole Foods or do you recommend buying
    Raw Honey from a Bee Farmer.
    I was buying Coconut Palm Nectar to use in my Herbal Tonic Elixirs.
    I was buying the Coconut Chrystals attempting to make “RAW Coconut Burfi” my Favorite
    South Indian Vegetarian Dessert.
    If you know of a RAW Coconut Burfi recipe please post or send to me.
    Now-a-days there seem to be a landmine buying Honey from Raw – Traditional – to Manuka.
    Consumers don’t know what’s processed or unprocessed by reading the labels.

  • katndog

    I feel very fortunate in that I’ve been shopping at farmers markets
    for years and have not bought any contaminated honey from a store in
    recent years – if I ever did.