Turns out the decision’s a lot more difficult than that — because just about all the honey in your supermarket is barely even honey at all.
A new analysis finds that more than three-quarters of mass-market honey is low-quality junk that has been stripped of all its pollen.
That’s not just a key part of what makes honey honey. It’s also the one and only way to identify where the honey came from — and when the pollen is deliberately removed, it’s a sure sign that it really came from China.
Cheap Chinese honey is banned from most places and heavily taxed in others to keep it off the market, and with good reason: It’s often contaminated with antibiotics and toxic heavy metals.
But it’s still getting here. Chinese beekeepers simply remove all the pollen and sell it through a middleman in another country — often India.
There’s even a name for the practice: honey laundering. And it’s so common that recent tests on more than 60 honey samples from stores in 10 states and Washington, D.C. found that 76 percent of the honey sold in big chain supermarkets was completely pollen free.
In other words, this stuff is almost certainly “laundered” Chinese honey.
The tests also revealed that 77 percent of the honey from “big box” stores such as Walmart, Costco and Target were missing pollen, along with 100 percent of honey sold in chain pharmacies like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS.
Just about the only honey from a chain store that had pollen was the honey from Trader Joe’s. The other consistently reliable choice: the vendors who sell honey at local farmers’ markets and co-ops.
Food Safety News, which ordered the tests, has a complete list of honey brands that contained no pollen — and they’re brands found in cupboards across the country, including Sue Bee and Winnie the Pooh.
Yes, not even Pooh Bear is safe from Chinese honey!
Read the full list here.
Of course, there are other reasons to make sure your honey is local: In addition to supporting local beekeepers, honey with local pollen can help protect you from seasonal allergies.
On a mission for your health,
Editor, House Calls