Andrew Schneider | Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant,
a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier
melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey. Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found
that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News: •76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen
removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC,
Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King
•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco,
Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service
portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.
•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought
at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader
Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.
And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found
that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t
ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven
samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the
organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.
The National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion
organization under USDA oversight, says the bulk of foreign honey (at
least 60 percent or more) is sold to the food industry for use in baked
goods, beverages, sauces and processed foods. Food Safety News did not
examine these products for this story.
Our little girl bees live in the hives in the background of this photo.