On November 7 the Food Safety News published a controversial article that reported that they had found that 76 percent of the honey they had purchased in major grocery stores contained no pollen and therefore was not really honey. Furthermore, they had tested honey purchased at drug stores like Rite-Aid and CVS and found that 100% contained no pollen, 77% at big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco contained no pollen and 100% of small individual service portions from McDonald’s and KFC contained no pollen. At the same time they found that honey purchased at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural stores” like Trader Joe’s contained the normal expected amounts of pollen.
The question is why do producers and packers remove through filtration the pollen which is a normal beneficial component of honey? The bottom line is that it done for one or more reasons. Number one is to hide the source of the honey. Honey can be traced back to its origin based on the pollen it contains. Right now we have a tremendous problem in this country with illegal importation of honey from China via a third country. This is being done to circumvent the anti-dumping duties and screening for contaminants that Chinese honey has been found to be tainted with. (see the related articles in earlier posts) The second reason is to extend the shelf life of the honey. The pollen grains and sugar crystals contained in raw honey serve as seeds for the growth of larger sugar crystals that eventually lead to crystallization of the entire jar of honey. This is a normal occurrence and in fact the preferred form of honey in Europe and other parts of the world. So is honey really honey without the pollen? You as the consumer are the one to answer the question.
Here is a link to the article: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/