There are over 300 different types of honey in the United States. They come from a wide range of flowers, including Eucalyptus, Clover, and Orange Blossom. Last year, bees produce over 160 million pounds of honey in the U.S. On average, each American consumes around 1.25 pounds of honey every year. Wildflower honey comes from bees that feed on nectar from wild flowers.
When you want to feed your family wildflower honey, it is important to understand where honey comes from.
All Honey is not created equal
Much of what you see for sale at reduced prices in discount grocery stores is imported, ultra-filtered and cut with other ingredients. This process removes the pollen from the honey. It also lightens the color of honey and keeps it from crystallizing. The resulting product cannot be traced back to its source to determine whether it came from a legitimate supplier or one with a reputation for adulterated products. There is no way to determine if it is really wildflower honey or has been cut with other sweeteners such as corn syrup.
When Food Safety News investigated honey in 2011, it was found that over 75 percent of honey sold actually lacks pollen. Attorney J. Meyer, in the process of filing a class action suit against several major retailers says “pollen-less honey should be treated like any other fake food in that it can’t be called the real deal.”
Class action lawsuit filed
Brands in question include Publix’s private labels “Orange Blossom Honey” and “Pure Clover Honey,” Target’s “Market Pantry” and “Archer Farms” brands, Walgreen’s honey and its “Nice” honey, and Aldi’s “Berryhill Clover Honey.”
Meyer and Kellogg, suing attorneys, estimate that there may be thousands to tens of thousands of consumers who purchased pollen-free honey sold under any of the brand names in question over the past four years.
What is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is the concentrated nectar that comes straight from the extractor; it is the only unheated, pure, unpasteurized, unprocessed honey. An alkaline-forming food, this type of honey contains ingredients similar to those found in fruits, which become alkaline in the digestive system. It doesn’t ferment in the stomach and it can be used to counteract acid indigestion. When mixed with ginger and lemon juices, it also relieves nausea and supplies energy.
When selecting a raw honey for you and your family, make sure the word “raw” or “unpasteurized” is on the label.
Medicinal uses of honey
Most people are aware of the use of honey as a sweetener. But few are aware that honey has been used for thousands of years as an ancient remedy. Many authors support the use of honey on infected wounds and some suggest its prophylactic use on the wounds of patients susceptible to MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Find out where the honey comes from
A consumer is more likely to get real honey at local markets and fruit stands. But even then, there is no guarantee. Consumers shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. Where are the bees kept? Is the honey from a local source? What do the bees feed on?