Why It Matters
Pollen-free honey may not sound like a problem, but without pollen it is not possible to trace the source. Food Safety News reported last August:
A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities.
No pollen, no traceability, no assurance of safety. Furthermore, when pollen is filtered from honey, so are many of the health benefits such as allergy relief and the nutritional value of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients in bee pollen.
The Food Safety News test results come just as the EU has decided to order honey producers to test for the presence of unauthorized genetically modified pollen and to identify pollen as an ingredient rather than a natural component of honey. Industry spokespeople fear the ruling will put many small-scale beekeepers and honey producers out of business.
The irony is that while Food Safety News is raising the red flag over the honey supply found on U.S. shelves, the EU may be making it impossible for its honey producers to keep the health benefits intact. For that, we have the vigilance of a German amateur beekeeper (who identified small amounts of GM pollen in his honey) and the steamroller spread of GM crops to thank.
For honey lovers who want nutrition, health and safety along with sweetness, farmers’ markets and organic honey producers offer the only reliable sources.
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