Plow Maker Farms
Why Buy Local Honey
Food Safety News found that over 75% of honey sold in grocery stores has NO pollen in it.
In this 2011 report, Vaughn Bryant, PHD, a professor of anthropology at Texas A&M and a melissopalynologist (a pollen expert), inspected over 60 honey samples purchased at local grocery stores, big box stores and farmers markets. His findings:
- 76% of honey samples bought at grocery stores (Safeway, Kroger and others) had their pollen removed
- 100% of honey samples bought at drugstores (Walgreens, Rite-Aid and others) had no pollen
- 77% of the honey bought at big box stores (Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart and others) had no pollen
- All the honey samples from farmer's markets, co-ops, and 'natural' food stores had their full amount of pollen
The FDA, World Health organization, and the European Commission has ruled that 'honey' without pollen is not honey. This is because without pollen there is no way to determine if the honey came from a legitimate source and if it is actually honey. Also, removing pollen negates many of the health benefits of choosing honey as a sweetener.
Pollen is removed through ultrafiltration. This method was perfected by shady Chinese honey venders, who flood the USA market with illegal, low quality honey. Often this so called honey is adulterated with corn syrup or other low cost sweeteners, watered down, and laced with illegal antibiotics.
To get around US tariffs and restrictions, Chinese dealers are rerouting their honey illegally through other countries. This honey is fraudulently labeled with the wrong country of origin and shipped to the United States. Many of the countries used in this scheme, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, do not even have commercial beekeeping industries.
There is currently an effort by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation and officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to intercept illegal honey. In from October of 2014 to January of 2015 the agents seized over half a million pounds of Chinese honey worth $2.25 million.
What Can You Do?
- Buy local honey from the trusted sources such as beekeepers, farmers market venders or co-op
- Assume that any 'cheap' honey found in grocery stores, drug stores or big box stores is ultrafiltered, likely from China, possibly adulterated and could be contaminated with pesticides or other chemicals
- Look for the True Source Certification on the label of commercially produced honey
- For more on this problem or to get involved check out True Source Honey.