Why I was FORCED to increase honey prices!

Why I was FORCED to increase honey prices!

Recently I was forced to increase honey prices by 25%. Watch the video below to learn why.

FEATURED in North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine

FEATURED in North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine


FEATURED: The People’s Chemist talks with Mark about the shocking truth behind Antibiotics and Heavy Metals in Your Honey!

FEATURED: The People’s Chemist talks with Mark about the shocking truth behind Antibiotics and Heavy Metals in Your Honey!

organic-honey-618x348Honey was mankind’s first sweetener. Valued for its sweetness and nutritional value, it actually serves as Mother Nature’s antidote to allergies.  And when it’s taken straight from the hive, it doesn’t spike insulin, blood sugar or triglycerides, making it a welcome alternative to processed sugar and artificial flavors.

But you’ll rarely find true honey in the store…

I’ve never spoken on the benefits of honey, because finding the real stuff is nearly impossible.  Get wanna-be honey from the store or local farmers market and you might as well be shamelessly guzzling sodas.

Recent testing done by Food Safety News revealed that 76% of honey sold in stores in the U.S. isn’t real honey but rather, a pseudo-honey product loaded with syrups and sugars and void of immune-boosting pollen. Worse, many honey-like products are contaminated with antibiotics and heavy metals.

Fortunately, there’s hope.

As the chemist in the family, I’m in charge of my 1 year old’s nightly bottle.  My secret, can’t-refuse-nutrition-rich recipe is a drop of honey, raw milk and egg with all-natural whey.  Skyler impatiently pulls at my leg every night at 7:39, while I prepare it.

Of course, I never give him store bought honey, which would only guarantee a toxic addiction to sugar.  Seeking out a truly natural honey, loaded with pollen and assorted minerals, I found Arizona Honey Market.  (

Mark Fratu is the beekeeper. 

He graciously took time out of his hectic schedule to answer a few questions for TPC fans. 

In the following interview, Mark discusses how most honey products have been butchered of their original essence and are completely worthless, nutritionally. He keeps European and Africanized killer bees to produce pollen-rich, true honey.

You can taste and feel the difference.  You’ll also see the price difference.  But, since you don’t need to use nearly as much for the desired effect, it lasts longer than the impostors you find at the store.

In this interview, it was great to hear Mark speak on pesticides and insecticides causing colony collapse.  We don’t need a panel of dorky scientists or a governing body trying to decipher why bees are dying…Enter Blair, my 9 year old.

“Bees are insects.  Farmers are using insecticides.  Insecticides kill bees. What’s the question?”

Order your true honey at

My favorite product is the Allergy Pollen Mix.

How long does it take for a bee to make honey?

Beekeeper: Most people have no idea how hard bees work to produce just a little bit of honey. A worker bee produces about one tenth of a teaspoon in her entire life, which is only 45 days.  And it’s getting even harder for them due to chemical pollutants, excess soy and corn in the environment.

In the last 20 years the country changed completely — basically to a monoculture of soy and corn, which bees do not pollinate. Because of that, beekeepers have to constantly feed bees with all kinds of products (corn syrup, fructose, etc.) in order to produce honey for the consumer. This obviously creates a vastly inferior honey than what Mother Nature intended.

To make matters worse, the pesticide industry is putting a lot of stress on bees, and as you probably know, colony collapse exists all over the place. But beekeepers are at fault themselves, too, because they’re all using too many medications, insecticides and antibiotics than are necessary, in my opinion.

For people who don’t know about the importance of pollen, how do you explain it to them?

Beekeeper:  Pollen is the superfood of the world. It contains almost every mineral and vitamin (all the B complex vitamins, including B12) that exist today in their natural forms.

Bees use pollen as food for larvae.  As they bounce around from plant to plant, they pollinate, causing plant growth.  Without the bees, all the vegetable and fruit trees would be a disaster. 

And if your honey is lacking it, then you miss out on all the health benefits, too.

[TPC Note: Pollen is an irritant to most people.  But Ingesting small amounts of it can bolster immunity and ward off allergies.  This phenomenon is biology is known as hormesis.  I wrote about  in The Stop Eating So F@#$ing Much Diet.

My research uncovered a long history of immunity and hormonal manipulations courtesy of hormesis, which are counter to medicine. Instead of soothing a problem, you basically add small amounts of stress to it.  This activates the body’s own defenses, when done right. 

Ultimately, things like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and seasonal allergies have been reversed by hormesis.  Using pollen from honey is similar.  By exposing yourself to small amounts of the allergens, you reprogram your immune system to protect you, which is why your honey needs pollen.  Learn more about natural allergy treatments]

Why is it important to have pollen in honey?

Beekeeper:  Mainly because of the nutritional value that it imparts to the immune system.  Small exposure helps teach the body how to stay healthy.

What do you feed your bees?

Beekeeper:  I don’t feed my bees or medicate them with anything. (Nada, nothing.) I’m working with Africanized killer bees the way God intended to be — without chemicals, soy and corn. I have the most exotic honey you could ever taste in your life. Because of that, it’s very expensive, but always worth it.  It’s satisfying, sweet and healthy.  Hard to put a price on that.

Why do some honey companies feed their bees sugar, corn syrup, and other byproducts? What is the result of this?

Beekeeper:  As I mentioned previously, in the last 20 years we’ve destroyed the environment. Most of the Midwest is now only monoculture corn and soybean — which bees do not pollinate. They need a lot of flowers and trees in order to produce honey.

Plus, beehives cannot be moved that easily to where the flowers are. Bees only travel 3 to 6 miles from the hive, and they need a lot of flowers to produce honey. Therefore, it’s much easier to feed them with byproducts than to move them, and if there are no flowers or trees you have no choice but to feed them byproducts to produce honey.

Over 75% of honey sold in stores in the U.S. isn’t real honey. Rather, it’s pseudo-honey loaded with syrups and sugars. How can these companies blatantly lie to consumers?

Beekeeper:  All the honey in stores is not only fake, but it also has no bee pollen. They extract it out with a special machine so they can mix in honey imported from countries like China and India, which is banned from being sold to international markets. This way, nobody knows where the honey is from.

Aren’t there laws in place to prevent companies from selling fake honey?

Beekeeper:  No, there are no laws about that, and the FDA doesn’t enforce labeling to include what the honey is made from — whether it’s made from corn syrup or other byproducts.

Please explain why some honey companies have antibiotics in their honey products.

Beekeeper:  Almost 99% of beekeepers out there are medicating bees with antibiotic treatments for Varroa mites and fumigation, because this is the way it’s been taught from generation to generation — that you have to medicate bees in order to keep them healthy.

I don’t use any medications — absolutely none — and I have no problem with my bees.

Should consumers automatically trust a honey product just because it’s labeled as “organic” or “raw”?

Beekeeper:  No. The consumer has no choice but to believe the label on the honey, because all honey from the supermarket you buy these days has not been sold by beekeepers, but are packaged by a huge company. They don’t care about anything except making money.

In your expert opinion, what is the definition of “pure honey”?

Beekeeper:  Most of the time, if you read the label “pure honey” means the honey has been processed or pasteurized (cooked).

Is it true that real honey can cure allergies? How is this possible?

Beekeeper:  Yes and no. If the honey is real from the flower and not made by other products, it does help people with allergies. The only problem is it takes 5 to 8 months to build your immune system, because bee pollen and regular honey is only 5%. I have a special formula of honey that is an infusion of pollen, propolis, and special ingredients, and if you take a teaspoon every day, your allergies will be gone. During the first two weeks, we have over 98% success rate.

How can the average consumer be sure the honey they’re buying is real?

Beekeeper:  Well, most consumers are looking for cheap honey, not high-quality honey. You have to do a lot of research in order to find high-quality honey from people like me. Even the beekeepers are not 100% truthful and honest in telling people whether their honey is real or not. I’m selling honey in the farmer’s market with other wholesalers, and yet a lot of consumers go buy cheap honey from the others rather than honey from me.

How is your company, Arizona Honey Market, different from the average honey company?

Beekeeper:  I don’t even know where to begin…Most of my bees are Africanized killer bees which, I believe produce better honey – in taste and health benefits. I don’t medicate my bees, and I don’t feed my bees anything.  They eat what nature intended. 

I received the best and most honorable award in the state of Arizona for my honey and beekeeping.  That’s because all other honey sellers are simply “wholesalers.”  You see them at the farmers markets.  They aren’t the beekeepers and they have no idea what they are selling – pollen free, processed honey that may contain antibiotics, high-fructose corn syrup and more…

The only reason it sells is because it’s cheap. It’s very frustrating.  But once people try my honey from, they never go back to the cheap, fake stuff.  It’s life changing.


About the Author

Shane Ellison

My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, The 5 Deadly Pills Checklist.

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

honey-without-pollen-food-safety-news1.jpgIn the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

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 Soopers.

•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.

Some U.S. honey packers didn’t want to talk about how they process their merchandise.

One who did was Bob Olney, of Honey Tree Inc., in Michigan, who sells its Winnie the Pooh honey in Walmart stores.  Bryant’s analysis of the contents of the container made in Winnie’s image found that the pollen had been removed.

Olney says that his honey came from suppliers in Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. “It was filtered in processing because North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear,” he said.

The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

However, most beekeepers say traditional filtering used by most will catch bee parts, wax, debris from the hives and other visible contaminants but will leave the pollen in place.

Ernie Groeb, the president and CEO of Groeb Farms Inc., which calls itself “the world’s largest packer of honey,” says he makes no specific requirement to the pollen content of the 85 million pounds of honey his company buys.

Groeb sells retail under the Miller’s brand and says he buys 100 percent pure honey, but does not “specify nor do we require that the pollen be left in or be removed.”

He says that there are many different filtering methods used by beekeepers and honey packers.

“We buy basically what’s considered raw honey. We trust good suppliers. That’s what we rely on,” said Groeb, whose headquarters is in Onsted, Mich.

Why Remove the Pollen?

Removal of all pollen from honey “makes no sense” and is completely contrary to marketing the highest quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.

food-safety-news-good-honey-sample.jpg“I don’t know of any U.S. producer that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,” Jensen said.

“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.

Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”

“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.

The Sioux Honey Association, who says it’s America’s largest supplier, declined repeated requests for comments on ultra-filtration, what Sue Bee does with its foreign honey and whether it’s u
ltra-filtered when they buy it. The co-op markets retail under Sue Bee, Clover Maid, Aunt Sue, Natural Pure and many store brands.

Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, the nation’s third largest packer, said his company takes every precaution not to buy laundered Chinese honey.

“We are well aware of the tricks being used by some brokers to sell honey that originated in China and laundering it in a second country by filtering out the pollen and other adulterants,” said Wenger, whose firm markets 55 million pounds of honey annually under its Busy Bee brand, store brands, club stores and food service.

“The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we won’t buy it, we won’t touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.”

He said his company uses “extreme care” including pollen analysis when purchasing foreign honey, especially from countries like India, Vietnam and others that have or have had “business arrangements” with Chinese honey producers.

Golden Heritage, Wenger said, then carefully removes all pollen from the raw honey when it’s processed to extend shelf life, but says, “as we see it, that is not ultra-filtration.

“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

Some of the foreign and state standards that are being instituted can be read to mean different things, Wenger said “but the confusion can be eliminated and we can all be held to the same appropriate standards for quality if FDA finally establishes the standards we’ve all wanted for so long.”

Groeb says he has urged FDA to take action as he also “totally supports a standard of Identity for honey. It will help everyone have common ground as to what pure honey truly is!”

What’s Wrong With Chinese Honey?

Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.

To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.

Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.

The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.

Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.

In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.

By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.

Eventually, some honey packers became worried about what they were pumping into the plastic bears and jars they were selling. They began using in-house or private labs to test for honey diluted with inexpensive high fructose corn syrup or 13 other illegal sweeteners or for the presence of illegal antibiotics. But even the most sophisticated of these tests would not pinpoint the geographic source of the honey.

food-safety-news-Vaughn-Bryant-honey-tester.jpgFood scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.

Federal investigators working on criminal indictments and a very few conscientious packers were willing to pay stiff fees to have the pollen in their honey analyzed for country of origin. That complex, multi-step analysis is done by fewer than five commercial laboratories in the world.

But, Customs and Justice Department investigators told Food Safety News that whenever U.S. food safety or criminal experts verify a method to identify potentially illegal honey – such as analyzing the pollen – the laundering operators find a way to thwart it, such as ultra-filtration.

The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.

FDA’s Lack of Action

The Food and Drug Administration weighed into the filtration issue years ago.

“The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey,” agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.

She went on to explain: “We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey. If we do detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey we will refuse entry.”

Many in the honey industry and some in FDA’s import office say they doubt that FDA checks more than 5 percent of all foreign honey shipments.

For three months, the FDA promised Food Safety News to make its “honey expert” available to explain what that statement meant.  It never happened. Further, the federal food safety authorities refused offers to examine Bryant’s analysis and explain what it plans to do about the selling of honey it says is adulterated because of the removal of pollen, a key ingredient.

Major food safety standard-setting organizations such as the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, the European Union and the European Food Safety Authority say the intentional removal of pollen is dangerous because it eliminates the ability of consumers and law enforcement to determine the actual origin of the honey.

“The removal of pollen will make the determination of botanical and geographic origin of honey impossible and circumvents the ability to trace and identify the actual source of the honey,” says the European Union Directive on Honey.

The Codex commission’s Standard for Honey, which sets principles for the international trade in food, has ruled that “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign matter. . .”  It even suggested what size mesh to use (not smaller than 0.2mm or 200 micron) to filter out unwanted debris — bits of wax and wood from the frames, and parts of bees — but retain 95 percent of all the pollen.

Food Safety News asked Bryant to analyze foreign honey packaged in Italy, Hungary, Greece, Tasmania and New Zealand to try to get a feeling for whether the Codex standards for pollen were being heeded overseas. The samples from every country but Greece were loaded with various types and amounts of pollen. Honey from Greece had none.

You’ll Never Know

In many cases, consumers would have an easier time deciphering state secrets than pinning down where the honey they’re buying in groceries actually came from.

The majority of the honey that Bryant’s analysis found to have no pollen was packaged as store brands by outside companies but carried a label unique to the food chain. For example, Giant Eagle has a ValuTime label on some of its honey. In Target it’s called Market Pantry, Naturally Preferred  and others. Walmart uses Great Value and Safeway just says Safeway. Wegmans also uses its own name.

Who actually bottled these store brands is often a mystery.

A noteworthy exception is Golden Heritage of Hillsboro, Kan. The company either puts its name or decipherable initials on the back of store brands it fills.

“We’re never bashful about discussing the products we put out” said Wenger, the company’s quality director. “We want people to know who to contact if they have questions.”

The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.

For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

food-safety-news-Sue-Bee-honey-ad.jpgOne of the customer service representatives said the contact address on two of the honeys being questioned was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is where Sioux Bee’s corporate office is located.

Jessica Carlson, a public relations person for Target, waved the proprietary banner and also refused to say whether it was Target management or the honey suppliers that wanted the source of the honey kept from the public.

Similar non-answers came from representatives of Safeway, Walmart and Giant Eagle.

The drugstores weren’t any more open with the sources of their house brands of honey. A Rite Aid representative said “if it’s not marked made in China, than it’s made in the United States.” She didn’t know who made it but said “I’ll ask someone.”

Rite Aid, Walgreen and CVS have yet to supply the information.

Only two smaller Pacific Northwest grocery chains – Haggen and Metropolitan Market – both selling honey without pollen, weren’t bashful about the source of their honey. Haggen said right off that its brand comes from Golden Heritage. Metropolitan Market said its honey – Western Family – is packed by Bee Maid Honey, a co-op of beekeepers from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Pollen? Who Cares?

Why should consumers care if their honey has had its pollen removed?

“Raw honey is thought to have many medicinal properties,” says Kathy Egan, dietitian at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.  “Stomach ailments, anemia and allergies are just a few of the conditions that may be improved by consumption of unprocessed honey.”

But beyond pollen’s reported enzymes, antioxidants and well documented anti-allergenic benefits, a growing population of natural food advocates just don’t want their honey messed with.

There is enormous variety among honeys. They range in color from glass-clear to a dark mahogany and in consistency from watery to chunky to a crystallized solid. It’s the plants and flowers where the bees forage for nectar that will determine the significant difference in the taste, aroma and color of what the bees produce. It is the processing that controls the texture.

Food historians say that in the 1950s the typical grocery might have offered three or four different brands of honey.  Today, a fair-sized store will offer 40 to 50 different types, flavors and sources of honey out of the estimated 300 different honeys made in the U.S.. And with the attractiveness of natural food and the locavore movement, honey’s popularity is burgeoning. Unfortunately, with it comes the potential for fraud.

Concocting a sweet-tasting syrup out of cane, corn or beet sugar, rice syrup or any of more than a dozen sweetening agents is a great deal easier, quicker and far less expensive than dealing with the natural brew of bees.

However, even the most dedicated beekeeper can unknowingly put incorrect information on a honey jar’s label.

Bryant has examined nearly 2,000 samples of honey sent in by beekeepers, honey importers, and ag officials checking commercial brands off store shelves. Types include premium honey such as “buckwheat, tupelo, sage, orange blossom, and sourwood” produced in Florida, North Carolina, California, New York and Virginia and “fireweed” from Alaska.

“Almost all were incorrectly labeled based on their pollen and nectar contents,” he said.

Out of the 60 plus samples that Bryant tested for Food Safety News, the absolute most flavorful said “blackberry” on the label. When Bryant concluded his examination of the pollen in this sample he found clover and wildflowers clearly outnumbering a smattering of grains of blackberry pollen.

For the most part we are not talking about intentional fraud here. Contrary to their most fervent wishes, beekeepers can’t control where their bees actually forage any more than they can keep the tides from changing. They offer their best guess on the predominant foliage within flying distance of the hives.

“I think we need a truth in labeling law in the U.S. as they have in other countries,” Bryant added.

FDA Ignores Pleas

No one can say for sure why the FDA has ignored repeated pleas from Congress, beekeepers and the honey industry to develop a U.S. standard for identification for honey.

Nancy Gentry owns the small Cross Creek Honey Company in Interlachen, Fla., and she isn’t worried about the quality of the honey she sells.

“I harvest my own honey. We put the frames in an extractor, spin it out, strain it, and it goes into a jar. It’s honey the way bees intended,” Gentry said.

But the negative stories on the discovery of tainted and bogus honey raised her fears for the public’s perception of honey.

food-safety-news-honey-samples-tested.jpgShe spent months of studying what the rest of the world was doing to protect consumers from tainted honey and questioning beekeepers and industry on what was needed here. Gentry became the leading force in crafting language for Florida to develop the nation’s first standard for identification for honey.

In July 2009, Florida adopted the standard and placed its Division of Food Safety in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in charge of enforcing it.  It’s since been followed by California, Wisconsin and North Carolina and is somewhere in the state legislative or regulatory maze in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and others.

John Ambrose’s battle for a national definition goes back 36 years. He said the issue is of great importance to North Carolina because it has more beekeepers than any other state in the country.

He and others tried to convince FDA that a single national standard for honey to help prevent adulterated honey from being sold was needed. The agency promised him it would be on the books within two years.

“But that never happened,” said Ambrose, a professor and entomologist at North Carolina State University and apiculturist, or bee expert. North Carolina followed Florida’s lead and passed its own identification standards last year.

Ambrose, who was co-chair of the team that drafted the state beekeeper association’s honey standards says the language is very simple, “Our standard says that nothing can be added or removed from the honey. So in other words, if somebody removes the pollen, or adds moisture or corn syrup or table sugar, that’s adulteration,” Ambrose told Food Safety News.

But still, he says he’s asked all the time how to ensure that you’re buying quality honey.  “The fact is, unless you’re buying from a beekeeper, you’re at risk,” was his uncomfortably blunt reply.

Eric Silva, counsel for the American Honey Producers Association said the standard is a simple but essential tool in ensuring the quality and safety of honey consumed by millions of Americans each year.

“Without it, the FDA and their trade enforcement counterparts are severely limited in their ability to combat the flow of illicit and potentially dangerous honey into this country,” Silva told Food Safety News.

It’s not just beekeepers, consumers and the industry that FDA officials either ignore or slough off with comments that they’re too busy.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of more than 20 U.S. senators and members of Congress of both parties who have asked the FDA repeatedly to create a federal “pure honey” standard, similar to what the rest of the world has established.

They get the same answer that Ambrose got in 1975:  “Any day now.”

Article Source:

The Critters Are in Trouble

The Critters Are in Trouble


Foodies West – Chef’s Larder April 2014


[WATCH] Why bees are disappearing

[WATCH] Why bees are disappearing

TasteMakers 100 – Mark Fratu #44

TasteMakers 100 – Mark Fratu #44

From now ’til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers — Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you’ll know; for others, it’ll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you’re here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch. 

Today: A man you’d never accuse of being a buzzkill.

Tastemaker 44: Mark Fratu

See also: Most Honey in the U.S. Isn’t Honey at All, Food Safety News Reports

Mark Fratu grew up in communist Transylvania.  He ended up in Chicago with next to nothing — but he worked hard, saved his money, and eventually moved to Arizona, where he spun his meager fortunes into real estate investments. But the work left him empty and bored. So he went back to his roots. His dad was a beekeeper in Transylvania, and while the family business didn’t interest him as a child, he found himself drawn to it later in life. He started with a single hive in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2008, after he’d learned a great deal more about bees, that he transitioned to working with them full time. Now he keeps about 30 hives spread throughout Phoenix and sells his honey at farmers markets.

I arrived in Phoenix with… my wife.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be… my wife, Jesus, David, Paul, Moses, and Solomon.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is…. honey.

One menu item this city could do without is… hotdogs.

My last meal in Phoenix would be… bread and butter with honey.



Value of Bee Propolis, Honey and Royal Jelly

Value of Bee Propolis, Honey and Royal Jelly
When it comes to bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly, people either seem to swear by them or swear at them.
Bee products epitomize everything that’s right and wrong about natural foods and dietary supplements. For a lot of people, the concept of eating “beestuff” – other than honey – seems awfully strange. And while bee products have a faithful following, few people really understand why they work. Scientifically,that is.
Not surprisingly, physicians usually bristle at the thought of people popping bee pollen and propolis capsules. One doctor, almost 20 years ago, warned in a medical journal that patients shouldn’t get “stung” by the miracle claims of bee pollen.
Even worse, advocates of bee products can often be their own worst enemies with wild cure-all claims of everything from arthritis to sexual impotence.Bee products don’t cure everything. But in a search of recent medical journal articles – most turned out to be from overseas – I found impressive documentation for propolis and honey as powerful, natural antibiotics. Amazingly, some doctors have even used honey-soaked gauze as wound dressings. And a few of the components of propolis and royal jelly even have anti-cancer properties.
As for allergies, bee pollen might help you the way it helped Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). But there’s a dearth of medical journal reports on pollen, except to point out that it can cause dermatitis or anaphylactic shock.


Bees create propolis by collecting a resinous sap from trees and then mixing it with wax back at the hive. They use this material much the way people use caulk: to seal their homes. Chemically, propolis is exceedingly complex and contains a rich variety of potent terpenes and benzoic, caffeic, cinnamic,and phenolic acids. It’s also high in flavonoids, which by themselves may account for many of the benefits attributed to propolis-and some researchers refer to propolis as a type of flavonoid.
One of the most significant medical journal articles described how the caffeic acids in propolis and honey might prevent colon cancer, which kills some 60,000 Americans each year. Chinthalapally V. Rao, Ph.D., of the American health Foundation, Valhalla, N.Y., reported in Cancer Research (Sept.15,1993; 53:1482-88) that these caffeic acids prevented the formation of precancerous tissue in rats after they were exposed to cancercausing chemicals.
Most medical articles, however, still point to the value of propolis as a powerful, natural antibiotic. That doesn’t mean eating propolis will let you throw away your antibiotics – only that you may not need them quite as often. Why would bees need substances with broad antibacterial and antiviral properties? Any beekeeper will tell you the answer. Bees are very susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, which can destroy hives the way the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the 17th century.
Two medical journal articles document the activity of propolis specifically against Staphylococcus aureus, the bacterium that causes dangerous and often deadly surgical infections, blood poisoning, and a type of pneumonia. Five to 10 percent of all patients hospitalized in the United States develop such infections, and S. aureus has become resistant to all but one pharmaceutical antibiotic.
In a Chinese study, researchers found that extracts of propolis – specifically, sinapic, isoferulic, and caffeic acids – inhibited the growth of S. aureus (Qiao Z, China Journal of Chinese Materi Medica, Aug. 1991;16:481-2). A European study reported that ethanol extracts from propolis had a “marked synergistic effect” on the anti-staph activity of two antibiotics, streptomycin and cloxacillin, and a moderate effect on several others (Krol W, Arzneimittel-Forschung, May 1993;43:607-9).
Another scientific investigation discovered that propolis inhibited the activity of several streptococcal bacteria species that cause dental caries.Japanese researchers reported that propolis-fed laboratory fats had far fewer caries than those given a regular diet. Propolis protected specifically against Streptococcus mutans and several other strep species (Ikeno K, Caries research, 1991;25:347-51). These strep species are closely related to the germ that causes strep throat. Propolis works against bacteria in several ways. One study reported that it prevented bacterial cell division and also broke down bacterial walls and cytoplasm, which is how some prescription antibiotics work (TakaisiKikuniNB, Planta Medica, June 1994;60:222-7).
Perhaps more remarkable is that propolis acts against viruses, which antibiotics do not. A number of medical journal reports have discussed the role of propolisin fighting upper respiratory infections, such as those caused by the common cold and influenza viruses (Focht J, Arzneimittel-Forschung, Aug. 1993;43:921-3). Other investigators have reported that the cinnamic acid extracts of propolis prevent viruses from reproducing, but they worked best when used during the entire infection (Serkedjieva J, Journal of Natural Products, March
Underpinning many of the benefits of propolis is that some of its components,like the flavonoids and ethanols, function as antioxidant free-radical scavengers. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Jan. 1994;21:9-13)noted that some of the antioxidant phenols in propolis functioned similarly to vitamin E. In another article, researchers described that propolis had anti-inflammatory properties and that it could also prevent blood clots(Drugs Under Experimental & Clinical Research, 1993; 19:197-203).


Six medical journal articles over the past three years have also described the antibiotic properties of honey. A physician at the medical college in Maharashtra, India, recently explored the use of honey-soaked gauze to treat burn patients. The 40 patients treated with honey healed in about half the time – and with half the scar tissue – compared with patients treated by other means. (Subrahmanyam M, Burns, Aug. 1994;20:331-3).
A team of researchers from the department of surgery, University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria, reported that unprocessed honey “inhibited most of the fungi and bacteria” causing surgical and wound infections. In a remarkable conclusion in the journal Infection (Jul.- Aug. 1992;20:227-9),Dr. S. E. Efem and his colleagues wrote, “Honey is thus an ideal topical wound dressing agent in surgical infections, burns and wound infections.”
Perhaps most remarkable is the effect of honey on Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium now known to cause gastric ulcers. Because honey has long been a folk remedy for dyspepsia, or stomach upset, a team of researchers from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, tested whether honey would have any benefit. Within three days, honey stopped the growth of H. pylori colonies obtained from patients.

Royal Jelly

Highly touted royal jelly, fed to the debutante larvae that grow into queen bees, contains a powerful antibacterial protein that Japanese researchers discovered and named royalisin. Rich in amino acids, royalisin is primarily effective against “Gram-positive” bacteria, which include staph and strep species (Fujiwara S, Journal of Biological Chemistry, July 5,1990;265:11333-7).
Like propolis, royal jelly also appears to have anti-tumor properties. Another team of Japanese researchers gave royal jelly to one of two groups of laboratory mice before transplanting different types of cancer cells in them. The royal jelly had no effect on the leukemia cells, but it had dramatic effects on sarcoma cells. The lifespan of the mice was extended by about one-fifth and tumor sizes were about half the size, compared with untreated mice,according to a report in the journal Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshji-Folia Pharmacologica Japonica (Feb.
In sum, we could learn a lesson from bees that eat honey and royal jelly, and seal their hives with propolis. By eating these bee products, we can preventively “innoculate” ourselves against many bacterial and viral infections – and maybe even reduce our risk of developing cancer. So, in light of the scientific evidence, next time you hear someone ridicule bee propolis, royal jelly, and other products, just tell them to “buzz off.”
This article originally appeared in the Natural Foods Merchandiser, published by New Hope Communications. TheinformationprovidedbyJackChallemandTheNutritionReporter™ newsletterisstrictlyeducationaland not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your physician.

Copyright © 1996 TheNutritionReporter™
Author: Jack Challem

Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review

Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review
 Read entire Research Paper here:

Due to the variation of botanical origin honey differs in appearance, sensory perception and composition. The main nutritional and health relevant components are carbohydrates, mainly fructose and glucose but also about 25 different oligosaccharides. Although honey is a high carbohydrate food, its glycemic index varies within a wide range from 32 to 85, depending on the botanical source. It contains small amounts of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, aroma compounds and polyphenols. The review covers the composition, the nutritional contribution of its components, its physiological and nutritional effects. It shows that honey has a variety of positive nutritional and health effects, if consumed at higher doses of 50 to 80 g per intake.