Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why You Should Never Buy Honey at the Store

The Spartan Diet bans all concentrated sweeteners (like sugar and sugar substitutes) and sticks exclusively to honey (to be used sparingly). And like all foods, the Spartan Diet emphasizes the qualitative. So we insist on local, raw, wild, unfiltered honey -- preferably from the local farmer's market.

When you buy from the Farmer's Market, the seller can tell you what plants the bees are frequenting. Which is important, because you don't want honey from bees that are pollinating conventional agriculture, as they'll pick up pesticides and other nasty stuff.

You should never, ever buy "conventional" honey from the supermarket. Besides the quality being degraded by pasteurization, filtering and other processing, you really don't know what it is you're buying.

A brilliant investigative piece published today in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer uncovers a common practice in the international honey trade called "honey laundering" -- low quality, fake and even toxic honey from China is often re-labeled as originating in other countries (such as India, Australia or Malaysia) and sent to the United States, where it is mixed with honey from elsewhere and sold in supermarkets.

In most cases, the honey company is the one being duped. They believe they're buying honey from one country, when in fact it originates in another. Hardly any of it is inspected or tested.

Some of the honey is diluted with sugar water or corn syrup, according to the article, or "tainted with pesticides or antibiotics." Chinese honey producers often use an antibiotic called chloramphenicol to treat bee disease epidemics, an antibiotic banned by the FDA. Chloramphenicol can cause illness or even death among some people.

Stay Spartan, and use only local, raw, wild, unfiltered honey.