Overlooking the city of Huaraz, Peru.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Huaraz, Peru.

Where are they going next? Not sure yet! We return to Canada November 3rd.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Your honey may not be honey!

A couple came through the park yesterday trying to pick out a site to reserve for their summer holiday in July. We got to talking, and it turns out this couple are honey producers. In fact, they are one of about 150 commercial size honey producers in Saskatchewan.

But we found out something disturbing. It's not right and we wanted to tell you about it.

To get right to the point, the honey that you buy off the shelf in the grocery store may contain up to 80% corn syrup! Even worse than that fact is that the label of ingredients probably doesn't mention corn syrup!

That's because in both Canada and the U.S., there is no government standard for honey. You can mix corn syrup with water and call it honey if you wish to. Right from the U.S. Department of Agriculture...

“…honey does not require official inspection in order to carry official USDA grade marks…there are no existing programs that require the official inspection and certification of honey…”

And buying honey that is labelled as "organic" doesn't fix the problem either. One beekeeper says...

FACT: The bees can forage over 6000 acres. No one can control if they get sprayed with pesticides or forage on genetically altered crops so the honey can not be Organic. So if you are paying a lot more because it is Organic Honey, guess what!!

The honey producers here in Saskatchewan have been lobbying the government to change the labeling rules for over 15 years! Great system we have here, isn't it?? Simply amazing.

The best way to buy pure 100% honey? Directly from the beekeeper. This particular couple we met do supply most of their honey in bulk to Bee Maid which is a co-op owned by the Canadian bee producers themselves. What happens to the honey after that, he has no control. They have to do this in order to stay in business. But some of their honey is sold directly to some of the smaller stores as well as local farmers markets.

In doing research, I came across many different articles all saying the same thing. here are some of the better ones...




My main beef with all of this is the lack of government response. How can this happen in Canada? I don't get it...


  1. Well, that's really discouraging. When I was young we did get our honey directly from friends of ours who were beekeepers. But that was many years ago. And I love honey. How can they get away with that. I'm with you - I don't get it.

    1. When I grew up, my parents got our honey from a local beekeeper in the area as well. It was so nice to get the fresh honey.

  2. That is scary! I even pay extra in the grocery store for the 'organic' honey.....guess I'll have to start buying it from the farmers market from now on.

    1. That or find a local beekeeper and get it directly from them.

  3. I thought the labeling laws changed in Canada last year and that everything in the product had to be declared or was that just for gluten free products?

    1. We thought so too, but apparently that's not the case or at least with honey it isn't! We don't understand how this is allowed to happen.

  4. Yes, a friend of mine researched honey a year ago and basically came up with what you have here. Honey can be a lot of things and can come from almost anywhere.....and the authorities don't care. Hard to believe in our highly regulated countries.

  5. Nor good news at all. Thanks for sharing and I will pass this on via a link on my blog. Meanwhile I will never say no to the honey sellers on the beach in Mexico again.

    1. They do this in Mexico too, Contessa. Sal from Hacienda Contreras in Valle de Juarez has also told us to be aware of who we buy our honey from because it is not always "pure" honey.

    2. Oh no!! I will look into it in the fall.

  6. I watched a documentary the other day about GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). I was absolutely shocked! I don't think the FDA or the US Dept. of Agriculture have the consumer's health on their minds. I think their pocketbooks are the only things on their minds. I had not heard this before about honey but I'm not surprised.

    Grace (in Tucson)

    1. We agree with you on them not looking out for our best interests. There is a farmer in the USA that is going on trail for selling fresh raw milk to members of a "club" that want the raw milk. What ever happened to a "free" country!

  7. I can only say: Wow!!! Another consumer rip off! :cO

  8. I've heard about this too - also that it could be mixed with honey from anywhere in the world. I always laughed when I read 'organic honey' and wondered how that could be possible... some new bee tracking device? lol. We get ours from a Hutterite colony (here in Manitoba) and so I imagine it's the real deal.

  9. Yet another disturbing thing I did not know! Thanks for the info.

  10. Interesting information thanks for clueing us in!

  11. I've always found it interesting that there's so much hype about Honey. I love the flavor of most types of honey I've tried. I know that when I buy "pure" honey, I have to believe it with reservations. If it's a natural process of honey bees, there are going to be some variance. I accept it and eat honey because it's sweet and I like the taste. It has no more nutritional value that other forms of sweetening.

    Honey is essentially only a carbohydrate - Sugar:

    Nutritional value of honey per 100 g (3.5 oz)
    Energy 1,272 kJ (304 kcal)
    Carbohydrates 82.4 g
    - Sugars 82.12 g
    - Dietary fiber 0.2 g
    Fat 0 g
    Protein 0.3 g
    Water 17.10 g
    Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.038 mg (3%)
    Niacin (vit. B3) 0.121 mg (1%)
    Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.068 mg (1%)
    Vitamin B6 0.024 mg (2%)
    Folate (vit. B9) 2 μg (1%)
    Vitamin C 0.5 mg (1%)
    Calcium 6 mg (1%)
    Iron 0.42 mg (3%)
    Magnesium 2 mg (1%)
    Phosphorus 4 mg (1%)
    Potassium 52 mg (1%)
    Sodium 4 mg (0%)
    Zinc 0.22 mg (2%)
    Shown is for 100 g, roughly 5 tbsp.
    Percentages are relative to
    US recommendations for adults.

    1. Ah, but the huge difference is that honey is essentially a natural sugar product. High fructose corn syrup is FAR from natural and many people believe that corn syrup is simply not good for you. For them to be able to put in in "pure" honey and not identify it is simply wrong.

      Another thing I found out from this research is that honey producers actually feed high fructose corn syrup to their bees as a food substitute because they are taking away their honey. Some studies are now showing that this reduces the bees immunity level and the bees can't cope with the number of pesticides they have to deal with on a regular basis.

    2. ...and it has been all over the news that bees are dying in large numbers and yet 'they' have no idea why!

    3. I recently read an article that suggested genetically modified food stuffs are the cause for the decrease in bees. Makes sense. Like us, they think they're getting something natural...not so.

      Great post, btw!

  12. Great information here in both the post and the comment. I had no idea. Thanks for alerting me. I definitely will buy no more honey unless I know the grower and can ask them straight out if they feed their bees. Can they lie to your face then becomes the question. SHeesh why in the world is it so difficult to get good clean food anymore. That is the one thing the bothers me about being full time. I used to control my own food supply by growing nearly all of it all myself and knowing the owner of the cow from whose milk I made butter and the beekeeper whose honey I used for sweetening. Now I'm at the mercy of a local farmer's market IF I can find one or the Whole Foods Grocery IF I can find one. The body is only as good as the materials we supply it with. SIGH....

    1. Kevin even questions the term organic, as here are many factors that can even affect that label. Growing your own is the best but even then the wind can blow chemical fertilizers around in the air.

  13. From now on, I am buying my honey from a beekeeper!


  14. Living in a citrus area we have lots of bees. In Allende, they have a beekeepers association that helps maintain bees, educate local farmers on bees and their importance. They also sell honey and recommend producers.

    We found out a long time ago that honey was being mixed. Almost all the vendors here were we live in Los Cavazos sell "honey" that has been mixed with syrup. Don't let the slice of beehive wax fool you either.

    Very good post. Something most people are unaware of. Labels really don't mean squat. There is so much written into them.

    1. You are so right with that last statement of yours, Chris!


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