What is Adulterated Honey?
When you stop by the honey aisle, the first thing that hits you is, “Wow, there’s a lot of this stuff.” At any given supermarket, you’re likely to see a dozen or more brands, each with different descriptions: “raw”, “pure”, “organic”, “unfiltered”, and so on. Right alongside them, you’ll see plain ol’ bear-bottle honey, as well as honey with practically no description at all.
You might start to wonder: does it matter which one I pick? Simply put: yes. And not just because of the taste. Without a careful look at the label, you might not even be buying honey!
It’s true: “Adulterated honey” is honey that has been mixed with some other substance; usually a similar, but cheaper, sweetener like corn syrup or sugar. Because of the significant amount of honey fraud around the world, many discount honeys are actually adulterated with who-knows-what and definitely not worth buying.
Since you’ll never see “unadulterated” or “adulterated” on a label, here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the good stuff.
- Choose 100% U.S. Honey.
Honey fraud can happen anywhere, but it’s most common in honey imported from foreign countries. Often, there’s no way to know where honey is actually from once it’s imported. For instance, honey may be “laundered” by passing through a country to hide its actual origins and skirt regulations and tariffs.
With 100% U.S. honey, you don’t have to worry about “honey laundering.” It’s much easier to keep honey under the watchful eye of the FDA. Learn more about Local Hive’s commitment to 100% U.S. honey here.
- Organic doesn’t always mean unadulterated.
There are many requirements for a food product to be certified organic, but the most common (and relevant to most people) is that it doesn’t contain pesticides. Since bees pollinate pretty much wherever they want and pesticides can be found all over the U.S., it’s all but impossible to produce organic honey in the U.S. Only very small amounts of USDA-certified organic honey are produced each year by bees on organic farms.
Some honey companies often get around this by selling honey that’s produced outside the US and certified organic by that country, but not by the USDA. This introduces the possibility that this foreign honey could be adulterated. (See #1 above.)
To combat this, Local Hive Honey is only sourced from beekeepers in the U.S. That way, when we send our honey out for testing, we know what to look for, and we know it’s not going to be adulterated with corn syrup, sugar, or anything else. Learn more about Local Hive on our FAQ page.
- Look for raw & unfiltered honey.
Cloudy honey = more likely to be raw & unfiltered. Cheaper honeys are often superheated (pasteurized) into a consistent, clear, drizzly liquid. This may look nice on the shelf, but it ruins honey’s flavor, disguises where it’s from, and destroys the amino acids and minerals that make honey so much better than sugar. Cloudiness is a great sign that your honey hasn’t been mishandled, and you’ll definitely taste the difference.
Be skeptical of any honey label that claims to have “100% pure honey.” For Local Hive, that’s just table stakes. The honey in our bottles isn’t just 100% honey. It’s raw & unfiltered 100% U.S. honey. Every honey blend we bottle, from So Cal to Northeast and everything in between, contains nothing but honey made by bees and beekeepers right here in the U.S.