HONEY: healthy or life-threatening food.
When honey can become carcinogenic.
Honey, so appreciated by many as nutritious food, can be life-threatening. A study by the Pro Consumers Association (PCA) has revealed worrying aspects related to the marketing of this product. Read this article and find out how honey can make you sick.
The Pro Consumers Association analyzed the content of 51 jars of various types of honey. The association's experts tested polyflora honey and monoflora honeys: acacia, lime, raspberry, rapeseed, lavender, coriander, chestnut, eucalyptus and sage. The honey jars came from organic food stores and large shopping centers in the counties of Valcea, Ialomita, Constanta, Bistrita Nasaud, Alba, Ilfov, Vaslui, Prahova, Sibiu, Baia Mare. The analysis included both local and imported honey from countries such as Germany, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil and Italy.
The conclusions of the Pro Consumers Association are worrying. According to the PCA experts that analyzed the honey, only four out of ten jars were sealed. Only two out of ten jars contained crystallized honey. Only three out of ten jars contained organic honey. One in 10 jars contained a mixture of honeys from several EU and Non-EU countries. It is worth pointing out that these are only a few of the conclusions.
Honey can be adulterated with caustic soda
Honey can be adulterated not only with natural sweeteners (sugar, invert sugar, glucose syrup, corn syrup, molasses) or artificial ones (saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates), but also with thickening additives (starch, gelatin, bone glue, pectins, gums). Such honey may also contain traces of dye-staff (ammonia caramel), or even worse, substances such as caustic soda, as shown on the association's website!
"Quality honey is the one that crystallizes a few weeks after harvest, while adulterated honey remains fluid. All local honey varieties crystallize between 1 month and 3 months. Unlike the other honeys, acacia honey and manna honey crystallize in 10-14 months after harvest. Crystallization of honey over time is a natural process. In conclusion, we can avoid fakes if we buy crystallized honey. We can buy non-crystallized honey only immediately after it was harvested or if the source is a reliable one, namely no additives such as sugar syrup, molasses or dextrose were added. Adulterated honey does not crystallize! A regular consumption of adulterated honey causes discomfort: headaches, dizziness, bloating, and nausea", says University Lecturer Dr. Costel Stanciu, president of PCA.
How adulterated honey makes you sick
"When honey is adulterated with glycerin, sugar, glucose, dextrose, molasses and starch, it can cause chronic diseases", PCA experts say.
And the list is not short at all: cardiovascular diseases or neurological diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis). Diabetes can also occur due to adulterated honey with flavors, dyes, synthetic sweeteners and preservatives. "I recommend consumers to buy organic honey from stores that sell only products of this type. Organic honey is not heat-processed, so it retains its enzymes and does not contain pesticides and antibiotic residues. The price of such honey is double that of uncertified honey", mentions Dr. Costel Stanciu.
It can also become carcinogenic
Experts say that it is important to consume honey as such, not to heat it because it loses its nutritional and therapeutic properties. Honey becomes toxic if added to tea, milk or other foods with a temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius! Heated honey contains hydroxymethylfurfural, a carcinogen, according to PCA. Also, do not store honey in PET packaging. "Honey dissolves plastic much faster than water. There are tens of thousands more plastic particles in the PET packed honey than in the PET packed water. Never buy honey in plastic, in fact never buy anything packaged in plastic!", this is the recommendation made by Virgil Virgilsen, a food industry technologist, on the PCA website.
Also, honey should not be stored in metal containers and should be protected from light. The optimal temperature for storing honey varies between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius! "Honey is sensitive to light. Never buy honey from roadside stalls. Whenever you come across such producers who keep their honey packed in plastic, on a stall in the sun, turn your head and pretend there is nobody there!", Virgil Virgilsen underlined.
This research is part of the National Information and Education Campaign: "Let's learn to understand labels!" Through this campaign, the PCA experts aim at teaching consumers to understand a product label so that they can make informed purchases. The research has been conducted by a team of PCA experts, coordinated by University Lecturer Dr. Costel Stanciu.