Friday, September 28, 2012

Is Honey Bad for Infants - Fiction or Reality?

This is a common reference for many and the author correctly puts this warning to question. Is there a deeper, underlying purpose to place fear into consumers' mind over such a naturally, healthy product as honey? Where is the proof ? It appears the verdict is inconclusive...


Dr.Theodore Cherbuliez, MD, President of the Apitherapy Commission of Apimondia

The Western medical world is practically unanimous on the question of giving honey to infants less than one year old: the answer is NO!

It is well known that the infant’s gut does not contain enough acid to handle safely the toxins emitted by the spores.

And now the published evidence found so far in the English medical literature is inconclusive. A few anecdotic accounts do exist pointing to the risk that the honey could have been the culprit.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that honey should not be added to food, water, or formula that is fed to infants younger than 12 months of age. This technically, applies even to honey in baked or processed food goods. The AAP statement says "Raw or unpasteurized honey (Infants younger than 12 months should avoid all sources of honey)". AAP Pediatric Nutrition Handbook.

Reasoning like the following are offered: Honey may contain botulism spores, which can lead to botulism poisoning. There are some areas of the country (United States) where the possible contamination of honey with botulism spores is higher due to the soil. Soil contains botulism spores/bacteria and the flora that bees use to feed on grows in that soil. [How the contamination of the flora happens is not described.] Also, disturbed soil containing the spores may directly settle upon hives for example - and thus the spores themselves could contaminate the honey as well...

From the Center for Disease Control. CDC, we learn that an average of 145 cases of botulism are reported yearly, 95 of them concern infants. The others come from infected wounds or accidental intake of the toxin. The overall number of death from botulism, (3 to 5% of 145), is about 6.

In addition to soil and house dust, the spore can be found on floors, carpet, and countertop, even after cleaning. The following foods are potential carriers: chopped garlic, herbs, canned cheese sauce, chile peppers, tomatoes, carrot juice, baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil and, for Alaskans, one can add to the list, fermented fish and aquatic game foods. Honey can also contain the bacteria. Hence the recommendation: no honey for infants.

The reason for singling honey out of the list, is not revealed... 

However, and this is less speculative, the Commission wants to either have the honey rehabilitated or have it scientifically evaluated as dangerous for the young population. The members of the Commission master some eight languages and cultures, and will allow an exploration beyond the reach of the already vast realm of the English language.

We will keep our readers informed of our progress. Any suggestions or comments will be addressed and responded to, if you send your message to Th. Cherbuliez, MD at

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