With the current health climate, we at DFC consider ourselves luckier than ever that we live out in the woods. Still, we are laying in a few supplies in case we get sick. This is a continuation of our usual winter M.O.: Who wants to schlep out to the shops when you’re coughing and miserable, whatever the cause?
I’ve always thought is essential to have some freezer meals, painkillers, ginger root, and cold meds at the ready all winter. And honey; definitely honey! The straight-up miracle elixir that not only coats your throat, but has enzymes, antioxidants, and trace vitamins in it that will make every cup of tea a healing experience! … Right?
But Vice has sad news this cold season, that the honey we trust off the shelf may not at all be what it seems. Author Shayla Love has uncovered the fact there is shockingly little regulation involved in the manufacturing, labelling, and selling of honey. While real raw honey itself has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and was even used by ancient cultures as a wound-healing salve, some modern manufacturers are heating their honey until those benefits disappear, faking its provenance, or even adding sugar syrup to stretch their wares — all without informing the health-conscious consumer. Love sees this fraud in action when she brings various kinds of honey to the Sweetwater Science Labs for testing.
“In the past five years, another technology has stepped up to bat: nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR). NMR isn’t new, but its application to honey is. The NMR food screener, made by scientific instrument producer Bruker, can analyze the magnetic fields of the atoms in any substance. When you image honey with NMR, it creates a spectrum that acts like a fingerprint, and can test for at least 36 different components of honey. NMR can also identify the country it came from using that molecular fingerprint by comparing it to a growing database of more than 18,000 honey samples established by the Honey Profiling Consortium, a collaboration of all the labs that use this specific technology on honey. […]
But the total number of people doing NMR testing on honey is small—so small, in fact, that [Jim] Gawenis’s lab at Sweetwater Science in Columbia, MO is the only lab facility in the United States currently using the technology.”
The whole article is an interesting, but sobering, read. I take it as a cautionary tale about how, when certain industries are given an inch, they take a mile — sometimes trampling our consumers’ rights. It’s up to us sometimes, to use science to protect one of our most interesting and delicious foods, and ultimately us.