In a discussion I had recently with a local Long Island bee keeper, he cautioned me by saying, “know your bee keeper.” This in regards to the fact that there are some local bee keepers selling their raw honey as local to Long Island when, in fact, it comes from upstate New York. This doesn’t really bother me, as it is still local as far as it’s effect on allergies go. There are a lot of other problems with honey that are far more pressing.
Genetically Modified Pollen Found in Honey
For instance, traces of GM pollen have been found in honey. Recently, the European Court of Justice in Brussels ruled that honey that contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorization before it can be sold in Europe.
At least Europeans are protected from this travesty.
Several Bavarian beekeepers demanded compensation from their government for honey and food supplements that contained traces of pollen from genetically modified maize.
The beekeepers had their hives close to fields where the Bavarian government was growing Monsanto’s MON 810 maize for research purposes. Clearly, there is no way to control which fields the bees pollinate.
US Does NOT Require GM Labeling
In contrast to the United States’ policy that does not require GM labeling, the EU has strict guidelines on authorizing and informing consumers about foods containing GMOs. This policy is a thorn in the side of producers of genetically modified seeds such as Monsanto, because when consumers are aware of the GM nature of the food they choose to avoid it.
Kelli Powers, a spokeswoman for Monsanto, emphasized that the company’s engineered corn seed has been approved as safe for human consumption.
…the safety of MON 810 is confirmed by multiple regulatory approvals, including those in the EU, and by up to 15 years of successful commercial use and consumption of MON810 corn products in the EU and around the world.
Successful commercial use and consumption of GM corn is possibly why autoimmune diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases are on the rise in this country.
Environmental activists said the ruling will force the 17-country European Union to strengthen the rules even further at a time they worried the bloc was dropping its zero-tolerance policy toward GMOs.
Mute Schimpf, a food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said,
This is a victory for beekeepers, consumers and the movement for GMO-free agriculture in Europe…This ruling rewrites the rule book and gives legal backing to stronger measures to prevent contamination from the likes of Monsanto.
If only we could have this kind of regulation in our country. What we have instead, is a revolving door between FDA officials and Monsanto executives.
One hand feeding the other.
Bees Exposed to Pesticides and Herbicides
But beyond this issue of GM pollen in the honey is also the issue of all the pesticides and herbicides on conventional crops that are pollinated by honey bees.
Many feel that this is one of the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder that is destroying millions of honey bees and may become an agricultural nightmare. These toxic chemicals rub off on the bees as they gather nectar and are brought back to the hive where they weaken and sicken the bees. This problem is widespread and getting worse. But that is a topic for another post.
Honey – Not Honey at all
More recently there have been a lot of articles in the news lately revealing that much of the commercial honey in the USA is from China and contains high fructose corn syrup.They can actually test the DNA of the pollen in the honey to find out exactly where it originated from. These tests are extremely accurate and are used in forensics.
Dishonest honey distributors buy the cheap stuff from China where it may be contaminated with antibiotics and heavy metals or it may not even be honey at all…
…it may be high fructose corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners.
The FDA is again doing it’s job of protecting us by not doing enough to prevent the widespread importation of this tainted product.
In the mean time I buy my raw honey from reputable local bee keepers. I recently found an organic farm in upstate New York that sells organic raw honey.
Where do you buy your honey? Or, better yet, do you have a beehive? Leave a comment and let me know!