Is Honey without Pollen a True Honey?


Lately honey is under attack, at least the kind often carried in the grocery stores across the country. What does all this fuss mean? Lawsuits in Florida are about the misrepresentation of honey in the retail stores. These lawsuits charge that the retail establishments violate the honey standard of identity in Florida by removing all the pollen from honey during the process of ultra-filtration.

What is the Point of the Lawsuits?

This asks the question if honey is still true honey without pollen. Why should this matter to you and other consumers? Jason Kellogg, one of the attorneys that filed the lawsuits, states that this is important for more than one reason. See many think it is the pollen in honey that provides various benefits to your health, because it is full of vitamins, minerals and protein.

The other way this is important is that the pollen helps to identify the geographic location from which the honey came or if it is clover, orange blossom or any type of honey the label states. Kellogg goes onto to state that the lawsuits say that through the removal of the pollen without labeling honey pollenless or filtered that the stores go against the Florida honey regulations and mislead the consumers.

Beekeepers that Keep Pollen In the Honey

Beekeepers who allow the honey to retain the pollen only filter the honey enough to remove large impurities from the sweet liquid according to the president for the Florida State Beekeepers Association, Gary Ranker. Many people such as you have stated how well eating local honey works on controlling their allergies thanks to the pollens helping their systems build up immunity to these same pollens. The reason many honey companies ultra-filter the honey is to improve it shelf life and prevent it from crystallizing.

Florida Regulations

For about three years, Florida has had regulations on what honey can contain. The regulations are to keep any additives out of the honey. This was done to keep honey coming in from other countries from containing added sugar, water, and corn syrup, or from being tainted with antibiotics or insecticides.

Hopes are that honey will be required to tell on the label whether it is non-filtered or filtered and if it contains any pollen according to Nancy Gnetry owner of Cross Creek Honey Company. She does state though that most of the more successful honey packers wish to keep practicing ultra-filtering of their honey.

What the National Honey Board Says about Ultra-Filtration and Pollen

According to Bruce Boynton, who is the CEO of the NHA (National Honey Board), there is some confusion on honey and honey filtration. He goes onto state that the word ultra-filtration is misused when referring to the methods of filtration traditionally used by numerous honey packers in the United States. This makes consumers believe that when honey contains no pollen that they are not getting real honey. He points out that honey bees use plant and flower nectar to make honey not the pollen. Pollen typically only gets into the honey through the extraction process.

It is best for now that if you want pollen in your honey that you buy from local dealers.