According 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.
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.