Delicious Living Blog

What's in your honey?

Is there a certification seal that ensures your honey is truly bee made? Here's the buzz about True Source.

In recent years, honey has acquired a tarnished reputation. While its benefits include being antibacterial, shelf stable, rich in vitamins and enzymes, and potentially allergy reducing, some honey may not be, well, honey.

“A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals,” according to a 2011 article in Food Safety News. “[Food safety investigators] found an even larger amount of honey apparently had been concocted without the help of bees, made from artificial sweeteners and then extensively filtered to remove any proof of contaminants or adulteration or indications of precisely where the honey actually originated.”

Using infrared technology, researchers can trace honey back to its botanical source, according to a study published in the journal European Food Research and Technology. If a product is essentially doctored-up sugar syrup, obviously, there’s no botanical source to be traced back to.

Call me honey, sugar

So how can you make sure the honey you buy is both the real stuff and was imported into the United States legally? Apart from buying local honey (those in urban centers, don’t scoff, beekeeping was legalized in New York City earlier this year), look for True Source Certified honey.

Established in 2010, True Source was developed in response to the proliferation of illegally imported, tainted honey that threatened to saturate the market. The non-profit allows exporters and packers of honey to be audited by a third party in order to ensure honey purity, as well as provide country of origin and traceability.

When choosing honey products at the store, the True Source Certification Seal is often on the bottle. Try Cadia Organic Wild Flower Brazilian Honey, which is sustainably sourced from the highlands and rainforests of Brazil. Additionally, Honey Stinger, maker of tasty organic energy gels, waffles, and bars, has just released a new line of pure, unadulterated organic honey certified by True Source that you can find at Whole Foods.

And we think that’s pretty sweet. 

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