Florida bans watered down honey

If you’re like me you buy honey from the store and are under the impression it’s 100% pure made by bees. Apparently this has not been the case for quite some time and Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has put an end to it. Starting July 14th, 2009 the only thing in that cute little hive shaped jar you get from Florida will be all natural.

Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowering plants. This nectar is sucked up by the bee into one of their two stomachs. This second ‘honey stomach’ is only for nectar and it make take visiting 100 to 1500 hundred flowers for them to fill it up. Once home other bees known as house bees suck the nectar from the stomach and begin chewing on it almost like a cow with cud. This action breaks down the high sugar content and protects it from bacteria. From there it is spread throughout the hive in combs and begins to dry. Workers use there wings to fan the honey to speed up the evaporation and the honey becomes thicker. Once thick enough a wax cap is put on the comb until the bees come later to eat it. A typical hive will eat about 120 pounds of honey per year.

Honey is nature’s perfect food. It does not spoil, needs no preservatives and can be stored almost indefinitely. Archeologists uncovered a 3000 year old tomb that had a sealed honey jar and it was still perfectly edible. Honey is also considered medicinally beneficial as we put honey in warm tea for sore throats which we all knew but also it’s considered a laxative and an even better ointment than most for open sores with more benefits as well.

So why do honey producers add water? Have you ever seen crystalized honey and thought it was bad so you threw it away? Truth is it’s still good, it just has too much water added to it. The U.S.D.A allows for up to 18.6% of added water to honey for it still to be classified grade A. Most honey will not crystalize with this amount but you definitely do not need as much pure honey to fill up a jar now do you? Selling honey with water means higher profits and if the government allows 18.6 then that’s what most companies will do. There are ways to test for water by weight but probably the easiest is to turn the jar upside down, the quicker the air bubbles rise the more likely your honey has been cut by water.

Florida commissioner Bronson also is worried about pesticides and other additives and wants the consumer to be fully aware of what they are getting.

We hope other states, the 28 other states that are looking at this, and hopefully the FDA, will come to the same conclusion, that if it’s not made by a bee, then it’s probably not honey,” Bronson said. “We just want people who are paying honey prices to get 100-percent honey.”

Florida is the 4th largest honey producing state but the first to take this bold move. Annually honey is a $ 40 million dollar industry so the impact could be huge. Violators could face a cease and desist order and have fines of $ 500.00.

So the next time you buy honey check the label to see what you’re getting or turn the bottle upside down. If it’s from Florida, you might bee there awhile.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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  • I have always found that the best way to sort out crystallized honey is to stand the jar in a jug of hot water for a few minutes, it then goes back to its gloopy form. I love spreading gloopy honey on fresh buttered toast!

    Did you know that “apitherapy” is the name given to treatment with honey, and that not all honey’s are equal. Apparently Active Manuka Honey is considered to be the best honey you can use for medicinal purposes.

    Sadly, bee numbers are in decline, so we have to look after our hard working bees. The same cannot be said of wasps, I really really hate them!

  • I have always found that the best way to sort out crystallized honey is to stand the jar in a jug of hot water for a few minutes, it then goes back to its gloopy form. I love spreading gloopy honey on fresh buttered toast!

    Did you know that “apitherapy” is the name given to treatment with honey, and that not all honey’s are equal. Apparently Active Manuka Honey is considered to be the best honey you can use for medicinal purposes.

    Sadly, bee numbers are in decline, so we have to look after our hard working bees. The same cannot be said of wasps, I really really hate them!

  • admin

    Awesome comment,

    In research I found out more about honey than I ever knew. The bee is such an amazing creature I really shouldn’t have been surprised at an equally amazing by product.

    Wow, your wasp story brings back a few horror stories for me as well. I have that same phobia when I have a Coke outside.

    Thanks for reading
    The Bug Doctor

  • Lady Sappho

    Added water is not what causes honey to crystallise.  In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true.  Honey crystallises,
    different honeys crystallise at different temperatures but all honey
    crystallises.  

    From your own link: ‘look for slight cloudiness and evidence of crystallization in your honey;
    these signs often mean that your honey is unheated and unfiltered, and
    therefore retains its fine flavor.’

  • Thank you Lady Sappho,

    I believe I was going for fermentation rather than crystallize , this is a 2009 article so I can’t recall how I was trying to frame the writing or how I got my thoughts crossed up. Not hard to understand if you know me ‘)- That said, the point was more that the honey was being artificially weighted for profit by water which is not a good thing.