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Re: [Pollinator] Food Safety News Story

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  • Peter Bernhardt
    Dear Colleagues: This story about the evils of filtered honey is getting a bit silly. Accusing the Chinese of putting out another bad product smacks of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2011
      Dear Colleagues:

      This story about the evils of filtered honey is getting a bit silly.  Accusing the Chinese of putting out another bad product smacks of xenophobia and leans towards ethnic stereotypes of the "tricky orientals."  Unless authorities prove that the imported product was adulterated (contains extra water or processed sugar) there is no obvious obvious difference between the benefits of filtered vs. unfiltered honey and it's time we said so.  

      I have dealt with fake or adulterated products while working for a respected scientific institution  (see my chapter on saffron in Bernhardt, 1993) and recognize that there is a market for cheap fakes.  However, I challenge anyone to produce a serious, scientific study that showed that pollen grains in honey added significant nutrients and or micro-minerals.  Let's remind others that our former President, Ronald Reagan, took pollen pills for years to improve his memory yet he died of complications from Alzheimer's.  

      Do people really know what they are eating when they eat honey?  Yes, ultra-filtration must remove pollen grains.  Doesn't this also mean it removes bee hairs and ectoparasites?  Of course, the bees do not put their hair or "cooties" into honey deliberately but they don't deliberately put pollen into honey cells either.  Yes, I am also aware that pollen in honey is used for identification purposes to test the claims of the seller and that's a good thing.  Anything sold as clover-blossom honey should contain the grains of a Trifolium species but no commercial honey is produced by a single worker.  Let's have some statistics.  What is the ratio of identifiable grains in honey permitted before a bottle can be marketed as clover, or orange blossom or tupelo or leatherwood honey?

      The public also needs to know that the shape, sculpturing and apertures on a pollen grain wall isn't a magic fingerprint.  An awful lot of grains of completely unrelated species look identical under light and SEM microscopy (evolution really likes the tricolporate grain for some reason).  Then there's the problem of discriminating between pollen grains of different species that belong to the same family.  I can identify the pollen of members of the rose family (Rosaceae) with a certain degree of expertise but I doubt I could pick out grains of Pyrus (pear), apple (Malus), strawberry (Fragaria), cinquefoil (Potentilla) etc. based exclusively on acetolysized pollen walls following removal from a honey jar.  

      Peter Bernhardt   


      On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 2:28 PM, Eric Mussen <ecmussen@...> wrote:

      The correct url for the original story is: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/


      There is not apostrophe in the word “isn’t”

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