Monday, December 19, 2011

Funny Honey and you

Hello all you sweet toothers!

Here's another rare agitated post. Muddle through if you please.

Do you like Honey? I mean honey, which is to say that the honey you have on your table or in your pantry may not be real honey. This is according to the FDA's definition of course. REAL honey has pollen in it. What you say? Pollen is a requirement of the product called 'honey'? Really? Well yes this was intended to give the government (the FDA) the ability to ascertain the origin of the honey in the event of some health issue it was responsible for. If it has pollen it could be back-tracked and removed from the food stream to protect the public's health. This is the main purpose for most regulation etc is to protect the public from unhealthy stuffs. But you already know that I bet.

However, under the definition of what real honey is according to the FDA most honey sold in the US does not qualify (and has not for a handful of years.) It has no pollen because it has been subjected to what is known as 'ultra-filtering' to remove it. How can this be you might be thinking? How could this happen given our heavy handed over regulated life we live here in the great US? Isn't somebody paid good money to watch out for this kind of thing? Well mostly, from what I have read, it is due to imports. Imported honey apparently does not go through checks by the FDA and thus doesn't really have to conform to our laws (you might think it is supposed to happen that way but the fact is it does not.) And thus you wind up buying honey that is not really honey according to our very own governing entities. Furthermore it is sneakily distributed in some cases. You can read the labels on some honey jars and spot the phrase "bottled by blah-blah" which may indicate it's not even produced where it says it originates from, just 'bottled' there. Hopefully you find this as appalling as I do.

Unless you live under a rock you should be aware that there have been many stories about imported products coming from other countries (one in particular) that has deadly chemicals, antibiotics and whatever else contained within. Unfortunately honey is now no different than those. And because of this lack of regulation and unmitigated allowances for importation have caused the prices of honey for US beekeeper producers to plummet so far as to make it non-profitable to pursue as a product line because to charge what it is worth considering the tending to the bees, the extraction, and overall production makes it more expensive than cheaper imported 'honey'. And so more cheap imported 'honey' flows into the US to satisfy demand for cheap food stuffs.

I tell you all of this to plea for beekeepers in the US and by extension the honey bee itself. Please, if you want honey, buy it from producers you know are from the US, who have bees and collect their own honey. This is the only way you can be (hopefully) guaranteed that you aren't getting "funny honey" from China or anywhere else that has been manipulated to the point where it doesn't even conform to the basic definition of what honey is supposed to be according to our flimsily enforced laws. Also by buying local honey you are supporting your economy, not another country's which I am for, and you might should be for as well.

Here is a link to an article that scratches the surface, it is from a website called grist.org. You can go to the article by clicking here.

If you are still here reading this I thank you and American beekeepers thank you, and the honey bee thanks you. The only way change will occur is by each of us doing the right thing which in this case is buying local products despite the glut of cheap (and cheapened) imported choices. "Imported" used to mean fancier, or more exotic, or perhaps even better, but it seems that it's just not the case any longer. Think about what you do, think about your health, think about your country's economy and your local economy is all I am asking.

Thanks again for your patience, it is rare when I go off on one of these rants, but this hits home being a beekeeper myself and being connected to the information that affects us specifically. Wish all of us luck this coming honey season.

Take care, see you soon, and thanks for stopping by!
Jimily

PS If you're wondering what set me off it is this: We were perusing the local liquor the other day store looking for Mead and could only find one bottle which was produced in Germany. Off the top of my head I know of at least 2 local Meaderies in Texas, and another 100 in the US and inquired if they knew of them and their products only to be told "We carry whatever our rep offers us" which, if you know me, kind of made me a little irritated seeing that consideration for our local economies and American producers did not factor into the products carried by that store. Sigh, so I had to write this post. See how things happen?

4 comments:

  1. Now i just need to find a local beekeeper that sells honey!

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  2. You didn't even mention the health benefits that you get when eating honey that contains pollen from the area where you live. It can lessen the effects of said pollen on your allergies... or so I'm told.

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  3. http://besthoneysite.com/local-honey-classifieds/ has been the place I've located local (to Austin) beekeepers and their honey.

    And yup, there are those that say it works wonders for their allergies. Me, I have no allergies so I can't speak to that point from experience. In history honey has been used as an antibiotic, a healing solution, and of course food. How can all of that be wrong? I don't know either.

    Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Ok and here's a Roundrock honey supply: http://www.roundrockhoney.com/index.php?main_page=index

    tah-dah
    jimily

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