A sticky situation
November 7, 2011 8:25 AM Subscribe
posted by tocts (156 comments total)
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Testing by Food Safety News has shown that more than 75% of the honey being sold in the United States does not qualify to be labeled for sale as "honey".
The key finding of the testing is that the vast majority of what is sold as honey in the United States has been subject to a process called ultra-filtration. This process removes all traces of pollen from the honey, which prevents the use of Melissopalynology
(the study of pollen within honey) to determine the geographical and botanical origin of the honey.
The concern over ultra-filtration stems largely from the fact that it allows for the process of "honey laundering
" -- transshipment of honey from countries from which import is banned through intermediary sources in order to circumvent the law. Such bans have been placed by the United States in the past in the wake of the presence of non-food-safe antibiotics
in Chinese honey, and by the EU due to incidences of heavy metal and other contaminants
in Indian honey.
The EU already has laws [pdf]
specifying allowable filtration for honey.
In the United States, according to Food Safety News,
"The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider 'ultra-filtered' honey to be honey," agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.
She went on to explain: "We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect 'ultra-filtered' honey. If we do detect 'ultra-filtered' honey we will refuse entry."
Despite this statement from the FDA, legislation aimed at establishing a "pure honey" standard in the United States has not yet gained traction
1: See Food Safety News