Organic honey that are unfiltered and unpasteurized do contain “impurities” which are tiny particles that mostly came from the hive and the insects. The most common particles are pollen grains, bubbles of air and broken pieces of the insects’ body parts (like wings, legs and etc…). It is due to such impurities why some experts claim that ingesting raw or unpasteurized honey is bad for your health.
For the filtered and pasteurized form of honey, some experts claims that it is also not good for your health. It’s because, the process may have removed the impurities but in return, it also has gotten rid most of the healthy and beneficial nutrients of the honey.
So which side do you want to believe?
There is actually no straight answer into this question because there are a lot of factors that are involved. So let’s discuss them one at a time.
The Good and Bad Sides of Unfiltered and Unpasteurized Honey
Throughout history, humans have been consuming honey as a very popular type of food due to many health benefits that it offers. In the US alone, the average yearly consumption of honey goes around 1.3 pounds.
There is actually a long list of health benefits about consuming organic honey that is already covered on another separate post. So if you are interested about this topic, you can read it first and when you are done then you can come back here to continue reading this post. Otherwise, let’s keep going.
Raw Honey in the Past
Since the ancient period of time, honey were already consumed in its raw form. It was probably because they do not have the technology or tools that we have today for filtering and pasteurization.
Ancient people primarily used raw honey as a medicine and energy booster. Honey actually offers many medicinal properties which explains the abundance of health benefits it offers. As a form of energy booster, you might be surprised to know that in the ancient period of Greece, athletes particularly runners in the Olympic Games do use honey to enhance their physical prowess.
It may also be surprising to you that for centuries, raw honey was a sacred substance used for religious ceremonies and rituals. It was also the secret ingredient by the ancient people of embalming their dead.
For Christian believers, God told about honey to the Israelite people on Exodus 33:3 – “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.”
Raw Organic Honey do not always have the same Quality
If you are going to order your raw honey from two different beekeeping farms, you may notice some slight differences between them such as the texture, thickness, aroma and flavor. The reason is due to “quality” which is influenced by the surrounding environment of the farm itself.
Let’s say for example that you purchased your raw honey from a beekeeping farm with polluted surrounding environment. Like, there are industrial factories nearby. As a result, all plants thriving in the area are affected by the pollution in which the bees will harvest their honey. Thus, the raw honey that they are able to produce will be of low quality and definitely even possess a threat into your health when consumed directly without being filtered and pasteurized.
On the other hand, buying your supply from a farm that is free from pollution offers the best and high quality of raw honey which can be ingested directly without any risk.
Straining is better than Filtering and Pasteurizing
The main reason why filtering and pasteurizing must be completely avoided is because of the “bee pollens” and “propolis” which are vital components of the honey and very beneficial for human health. These two important components often got removed by the filtration and pasteurization process which is not good.
You might say, “Okay, but how about those other particles such as dead bees, legs, broken wings, hunks of beeswax and many other impurities that got mixed?”
Of course, you do not want to eat those things. This is why raw honey actually goes through a very simple process called, “straining” before being put inside the bottles. The main purpose of this process is to remove only those unnecessary particles. So after the process, the honey still remain as raw.
Filtered and Pasteurized Organic Honey any Good?
There are actually many beekeeping farms that are situated near pollutant environments. So as mentioned above, organic honey coming from these kind of farms requires filtration and pasteurization in order to remove their bad impurities.
Since majority of beekeeping farms most likely failed when it comes to their surrounding environments, the “National Institutes of Health” issued a report that raw honey should not be directly ingested to avoid food poisoning.
The Filtration Process
The process of filtering out raw honey actually involves the whole extraction procedure. This will remove unnecessary particles like broken body parts of the bees, wax and many other solids from the honeycomb. Apart from those solid particles is the pollen which is responsible in hastening crystallization. You may want to know that crystallization is the number one complaint by most consumers.
The Pasteurization Process
Many people actually find raw organic honey very unappealing that it even crystallizes very quickly and may even contain harmful impurities. So big companies or suppliers of honey products found a way on how to completely get rid of the impurities making the appearance look like “pure golden liquid” – so as to prevent crystallization. Thus, commercial products known as, “processed, pure, or pasteurized honey” was born.
Why you should avoid the golden syrup-like honey?
Those golden syrup-like honey sure does have very attractive and tasty appearance but this is what you might not know about. In order to achieve this pasteurized form of honey, there are several processes that took place especially the application of heat which is the only way to achieve the clear and sparkling form of the honey. Excessive application of heat can literally destroy most of the important nutrients that the substance naturally contain.
But, the worst kind are those commercial honey treated with antibiotics or any other form of chemicals which are really pretty bad for your health.
As a personal opinion, raw organic honey produced from beekeeping farms with the perfect surrounding environment is the best of all kinds.