Watch Out for These Fake Honey Brands — They’re More Common Than You Think

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Do you use a bottle of golden honey to sweeten your tea or glaze your morning toast? Chances are, what you’re using is actually fake honey. Brace yourself. It’s a sticky subject. In the amber-hued world of honey, not all jars are crafted equally. A sweet drizzle atop your morning toast or a spoonful to soothe a sore throat, honey has long been a staple in American homes. But did you know that the origins of many honey brands lining our supermarket shelves might raise more questions than answers? Recent investigations have unearthed a surprising fact: a significant portion of honey sold in the USA traces its roots to China, and not all of it meets the golden standards you’d expect. Journey with us as we delve into the sticky situation and unveil the honey brands that might be worth giving a second thought before purchasing.

Honey: Delicious, Edible Gold

Honey is a remarkable natural substance with a long history of human use and an array of applications, both culinary and medicinal. This golden nectar is produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers and has been prized for its unique flavor, sweetness, and health benefits.

Culinary Uses of Honey

Honey is a versatile sweetener cherished for its rich, distinct taste. It can be drizzled over breakfast cereals, mixed into yogurt, or used in baking as a healthier alternative to sugar. It can also be incorporated into a variety of savory dishes. Honey’s distinctive flavors vary depending on the flowers the bees gather nectar from. As a result, there is a wide range of tastes and aromas, from floral and fruity to robust and earthy..

Honey Medicinal Benefits

Honey has also been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment for soothing sore throats and coughs. Additionally, honey can aid in wound healing and minor burns due to its ability to keep the affected area moist and sterile. Raw, unprocessed honey is packed with antioxidants that help combat free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases. While honey should be consumed in moderation due to its sugar content, it can be a part of a balanced diet..

Honey for Skincare
Honey’s natural humectant properties make it an excellent ingredient in skincare products. It helps attract and retain moisture, making it ideal for moisturizers and facial masks. Honey is also known for its ability to promote a healthy, glowing complexion. In essence, honey is a multifaceted wonder of nature. From enhancing the flavor of your morning tea to soothing a scratchy throat or revitalizing your skin, its applications are vast, and its benefits are numerous.

Most Honey Isn’t Honey Anymore: Brands to Watch Out For

As per the Food Safety News revelation, more than 75% of all honey sold in America isn’t what the bees produce. Instead, the honey industry is buzzing with nefarious activities. In particular, a practice known as honey ‘spiking’ has become all too common. This involves diluting pure honey with cheaper sugars like high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners. The result? Fake honey! In most conventional grocery stores, a taste of the ‘so-called’ honey improbably contains zero pollen. It’s not just your corner store that’s flouting the honey honesty code. Big-name pharmacies aren’t immune to stocking fake honey either. Food Safety News reports a shockingly high failure rate of 100% in outlets like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. Here are the top brands that were revealed to have no pollen!
  • American Choice Clover Honey
  • Archer Farms Orange Blossom Honey
  • Busy Bee Organic Classic Honey
  • Busy Bee, Pure Clover Honey
  • CVS Honey
  • Fred Meyer Clover Honey
  • Full Circle Pure Honey
  • Giant Eagle Clover Honey
  • GE Clover Honey
  • Great Value, Natural & Pure
  • Haggen Honey, Natural & Pure
  • HT Traders Tupelo Honey
  • Kroger Pure Clover Honey
  • Market Pantry Pure Honey
  • Mel-o 100 % Pure Honey
  • Natural Sue Bee Clover Honey
  • Naturally Preferred Fireweed Honey
  • Rite Aid Honey
  • Safeway Clover Honey
  • Silver Bow Pure Honey
  • Stop and Shop Clove Honey
  • Sue Bee Clover Honey
  • Thrifty Bee Honey
  • Valutime Honey
  • Walgreen MEL-O honey
  • Western Family Clover Honey
  • Wegman Clover Honey
  • Winnie the Pooh, Pure Clover
But why is pollen so important? Well, it serves as a unique fingerprint that distinguishes and validates the honey’s origin. Its absence suggests either adulteration or ultra-filtration, leaving consumers with inferior-quality honey missing key nutritional elements.

The Honey Hoax: When Filtration Becomes Fabrication

The technique to blame? Ultra-filtration. A process initially intended to filter out the potential beekeeper by-products like wax particles that float into honey during extraction. However, this refining process has been redefined for the worse. Ultra-filtration has now become a despicable tool to smudge honey’s origins and award it eternal shelf-life, all at the pollens’ expense. During ultra-filtration, honey is heated, pressurized, and forced through extremely fine filters, removing not just the pollen but also any traces of wax, bee propolis, and even beneficial enzymes. This filtration process may give honey a clearer appearance and a longer shelf life, but it also robs it of its natural goodness. By erasing the pollen, the honey’s true origins are hidden, making it difficult to trace the source and quality of the product.

The Eastern Connection: A Sticky Situation Flowing From China

To add to the already grim picture, most honey sold in the USA originates from China. This is due to its vast production capacity and lower costs. However, the issue lies in China’s honey industry, which is marred by questionable practices. This includes techniques like using antibiotics, pesticides, and even lead in the honey production process. Although there are some genuine products, lots of fake honey still comes from here The Chinese fake honey is often mixed with high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners to cut costs and boost profits. The result is a cocktail of chemicals that are harmful to our health. These extended additives can cause severe health issues, such as antibiotic resistance and heavy metal toxicity.

Raw Pure Honey: The Sweet Solution

Clearly, finding pure and high-quality honey can be a challenging task. But fear not; there is still hope! Raw pure honey retains all the beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can be compromised during processing. This means you enjoy the full nutritional benefits of honey. Not only is raw, pure honey loaded with beneficial nutrients, but it also contains small amounts of pollen, propolis, and bee wax, all of which contribute to its health-enhancing qualities. So, in a market flooded with adulterated honey, raw pure honey emerges as the genuine, unspoiled alternative. By embracing this unaltered gift of nature, you not only savor the true essence of honey but also support ethical practices and protect the purity of this golden elixir.

Where to Buy Real Honey?

Amidst the honey fraud, there are still options to savor the real essence of honey. According to Food Safety News, all honey bought at farmers’ markets, co-ops, and stores like Trader Joe’s contained full pollen. These outlets prioritize sourcing honey directly from local beekeepers, ensuring authenticity and traceability. Sounds like a fueling justification to take a detour to a local farmers’ market for your next honey jar, right? When it comes to honey, knowledge is power. Familiarizing yourself with reputable local beekeepers and honey producers will help you to make informed choices about the honey you purchase. Supporting these small businesses not only guarantees the purity of the honey but also helps sustain the declining bee populations, which are crucial for pollinating crops and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Avoiding the Sticky Situation: Tips for Buying Real Honey

If you’re committed to ensuring the honey you consume is genuine, here are a few tips to navigate the honey market with confidence:

1. Read the label

When scanning the label, look for keywords like “raw,” “unfiltered,” and “local” on the honey jar. This indicates that the honey is likely to be pure and sourced directly from beekeepers.

2. Check the source

Investigate the origin of the honey. Opt for brands that are transparent about the source of their honey and support local beekeepers. A direct connection between the producer and the consumer can offer greater assurance of authenticity. Consider purchasing honey from companies with a commitment to ethical and sustainable beekeeping practices.

3. Seek certifications

Look for certifications like “USDA Organic” and “Real Texas Honey.” These certifications ensure that the honey has met specific standards and has undergone rigorous testing for purity and authenticity. When you see these certifications on a honey jar, you can trust that you’re getting a high-quality product.

4. Support small beekeepers

One of the most authentic ways to obtain genuine honey is by purchasing it directly from local beekeepers. Local beekeepers are often deeply passionate about their craft and take pride in delivering pure, unadulterated honey to their customers. Additionally, you can find honey at stores that source their products from reputable beekeeping operations. This way, you can directly support sustainable beekeeping practices and help maintain a healthy bee population.

5. Embrace variety

Honey comes in a delightful array of varieties, each with its own distinct flavor and unique health benefits. Don’t be afraid to explore different types of honey, such as wildflower honey or honey made from specific flower sources. Each variety offers unique flavors and health benefits. Taking these measures will not only protect your health but also support ethical and sustainable honey production.

6. Conduct the Spoon Test

If you’re already in possession of a jar of honey and want to check its authenticity, try the spoon test. Dip a spoon into the honey and let it flow off the spoon. Pure honey should flow in a steady, unbroken stream, while adulterated honey might break into separate drops or appear to have added water, indicating potential dilution.

7. Price Awareness

While pure, high-quality honey is worth its weight in gold, it is essential to be aware of prices that seem too good to be true. Pure honey, especially raw and organic varieties, typically come at a higher price point. This is due to the labor-intensive and sustainable practices involved in its production. Be cautious of exceptionally cheap honey jars, as they may be indicative of lower quality or adulteration (fake honey).
Let’s pledge to become informed consumers and refuse to add more money to the honeypot of those who make a mockery out of nature’s gifts. The bees are doing their job. Now it’s time for us to do ours. Remember to choose your honey wisely and savor the rich flavors and benefits of authentic, natural honey.

Some of the links I post on this site are affiliate links. If you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you). However, note that I’m recommending these products because of their quality and that I have good experience using them, not because of the commission to be made.

About Sara Ding

Sara Ding is the founder of She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.


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