Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Honey Stop at 159 E. 800 South in Salt Lake City sells several Utah brands of raw honey that haven't been heated or adulterated. Christmas is one of the most popular times to buy honey, both as gifts and for baking.
When buying honey, be aware of impostors

Food » Tips for buying honey.

First Published Dec 18 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:47 pm

Christmas is one of the most popular times to buy honey — either as a gift or for baking. And that means consumers need to watch for honey fraud, said Bevan Weed, president of the Wasatch Beekeeping Association.

With the bee population declining about 30 percent per year, the honey supply is limited and unscrupulous companies will manipulate the honey to boost profits.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Honey packers bring in illegal honey or mix in corn syrup or other sweeteners to make the honey go farther," Weed said.

Earlier this year, five people and two U.S. honey processors were charged with federal crimes after an investigation showed they were illegally importing honey from China. The companies were heating the honey to such a high point that it eliminated all the pollen and officials can’t track where it was coming from.

Here are some things to look for:

Question price » The first red flag for consumers should be the price. "If you find cheap honey, it’s not sustainable and you’ve got to question where it’s coming from," Weed said. In Utah, honey should cost about $6.50 per pound.

Avoid organic » Honey labeled "organic" is a misnomer. "The transient nature of honeybees makes it almost impossible to farm organic honey in a sustainable way since bees travel up to 5 miles every day and collect pollen from any plants available," he said. Most honey carrying the "organic" label is mass-produced overseas.

Buy raw » Consumers should look for the words "raw honey" on the label. This ensures that it is a natural product that has been minimally processed and has the most health benefits. "You don’t want someone taking everything good about honey and stripping it down until nothing is left," said Pete Somers, owner of The Honey Stop, a honey-themed store at 159 E. 800 South in Salt Lake City.

Buy local » Weed and Somers say purchasing from a local beekeeper ensures that you’re buying a quality raw product. Your money helps local beekeepers improve their hives, they say, which in turn helps the state’s overall bee population.

For consumers looking for Utah-made raw honey, The Wasatch Beekeeping Association website at wasatchbeekeepers.com has a list of some Utah beekeepers. The Honey Stop also sells honeys from small Utah producers.

story continues below
story continues below

"These are products you’re not going to find on the grocery store shelves," said Somers, who carries dozens of other bee products from candles and lip balm to containers and artwork.

Once you get your raw honey home, don’t worry if it eventually turns solid.

"Crystallizing tells you that it’s raw honey," Weed said. "All you need to do is warm it back up."

Skip the microwave and simply place the jar of honey in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.