Quality of honey represents a puzzle and possible threat for shoppers

Many shoppers are unaware of the dangers that lurk in a bottle labeled honey.

Honey pretty much is a synonym for wholesome. After all, bees are little hard workers who have no genetic disposition for cheating.

But some honey producers do. In fact, some of the honey on store shelves is really cheaper corn syrup, other sweeteners or a mix. And there might be dangerous pesticides or antibiotics, too.

A shopper would have to be a graduate chemist to figure out what really is in the bottle or plastic bear. Food Safety News did an elaborate study in 2011 and reported that “more than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce.”

The publication reported online that there is another problem. Some producers use elaborate filtering techniques to remove the pollen in the honey. Without pollen no one can determine the origin of the honey.

China and India have been producing tons of low-grade honey for years, and much of it ends up in the North American market. Despite prohibitions, distributors there have found ways to evade import controls. Some U.S. states are beginning to develop quality controls.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio here has done a study of  honey that is available in Costa Rica. The results will be presented today. The ministry promises to alert consumers to sneaky practices.

All honey is filtered to remove foreign matter, including wax and other unwanted matter. But usually this type of filtering does not remove pollen, the signature of where the bees honey110515collected the honey and from what plant.

In addition, pollen is a valuable constituent that is an antioxidant and anti-allergenic.

Food Safety News said in its report that honey sold at farmer’s markets and small stores generally have not been adulterated. Honey at most chain stores not only was suspicious, but the companies would not discuss the origins.

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