One of the biggest problems in the food industry in Turkey is fake foods. One of these problems is honey. While consumers have difficulty distinguishing real honey from fake honey, experts state that honey cannot be recognized by its appearance or smell. Pharmacognosy Specialist Assoc. Dr. Etil Güzelmeriç gave important information on this subject by saying, “While you are looking for healing in honey, the adulterated or imitation honey you encounter may harm your health.” Here are Güzelmeriç’s statements:
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
The use of honey for health dates back to ancient times. Even people known as the father of medicine, such as Hippocrates, used honey in various treatments. Scientific studies conducted to date have revealed many benefits of honey. It is known that honey has effects such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and healing of wounds and burns. The World Health Organization states that honey can be used in the treatment of cough and cold. The antimicrobial effect of honey is due to the various properties it contains. The low water content of honey does not create a suitable environment for microorganisms. In addition, the acidity of honey is not suitable for the growth of many microorganisms. Phenolic components found in honey also have an antimicrobial effect.
WHY SHOULD IT NOT BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN UNDER 1 YEAR OLD?
In a study, it was observed that honey given to children (2-5 years old) with cough before going to bed at night reduced the frequency and severity of cough. However, the point to consider here is the age of the child. Honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age. Because honey may contain Clostridium botulinum bacteria and this bacteria can easily settle in the intestinal flora of babies. The toxins produced by this bacterium can cause food poisoning in babies.
BEWARE OF THE CRAZY HONEY DANGER!
Some compounds can be detected in honey as a result of bees taking nectar from rhododendrons. These compounds cause health-threatening symptoms and therefore these honeys are called “crazy honey”. The most common symptoms are low blood pressure and slow heart rhythm. In our country, rhododendrons can be found in the Black Sea and Marmara regions.
HOW DO WE KNOW THE NATURALITY OF HONEY?
We may encounter adulterated or imitation honey in honey. Corn or rice syrup is added to increase the amount of honey, and honey can be imitated by adding pollen, coloring agents and flavoring to sugar syrups. In addition, it should be noted that the prejudice that “crystallized honey is fake honey” is wrong. Honey crystallizes naturally, this is a normal process. However, as a result of heating honey or storing it under inappropriate conditions, fructose can turn into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF). 5-HMF may adversely affect health when taken for a long time and in high amounts. According to the Turkish Food Codex Honey Communiqué, the amount of 5-HMF in honey should not exceed 40 mg/kg. Therefore, analysis is necessary to understand the quality of honey.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
As the world population increases rapidly, agricultural activities and the use of pesticides also increase. While efforts are being made to increase honey production, veterinary medicines are used to treat bee diseases. This causes residues of pesticides, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs in honey. Therefore, it is necessary to perform analysis to understand the parameters contained in honey. It is important that the tests to be performed on honey are carried out in accredited analysis laboratories.