Honey is not so sweet anymore

The Honey lobby is lobbying Congress for stricter definitions of what is honey. According to an article published in The Atlantic, the regulations of what constitutes honey are so loose that the product on the shelves may not contain any pollen. What are consumers buying?

Some honey is corn syrup flavored as honey. Some is rice syrup, which is already the same color as honey. The more sophisticated faux honey is the product of bees force fed corn syrup. One cannot determine by price or by label the quality of honey that is for purchase in American stores.

Needless to say, the big honey labels in the United States are protesting against new definitions of honey and further regulations. Honey is just another example of highly-processed food stuffs in the American market. The lack of specific labeling allows faux food to be passed off as a legitimate food substance, in this case honey from bees. Corn syrup is inexpensive and honey prices are quite high.

Unless you know someone with beehives who is willing to share, the probability that you are consuming a partially faux honey product is remarkably high.

While the state of honey in the jar may be legal, there is a moral corruption here. While food processors have the right to produce processed foods, many of the products are clearly identified as highly processed by the list of ingredients. I also have the right not to purchase these processed foods. By hiding the content of honey, my rights are undermined – legal though the mechanism be. The very fact that companies have to hide ingredients, even lobbying regulatory agencies to make sure that ingredients remain hidden, should be a warning that these products are ultimately undesirable.

We are what we eat. Suddenly, that aphorism is a scary proposition.


By Glenn Jacob

Rabbi, Community Leader, Fundraiser, Board Development, Non-profit management, strategic planning, educator, writer, and editor.

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