Honey Contains Toxins, Study Suggests

By Jackie Pasaol, Parent Herald January 22, 05:20 am

Irish researchers said they discovered that out of 59 Australian honey they tested, 41 of it contained higher concentrations of toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Meaning, it had more than four times concentration of toxins than any other honey from other countries. They also said that the said toxins were produced by different types of pasture plants, including Paterson's curse.

According to the recent findings that were published in the Foods Additives and Contaminants journal, high dose of PAs can cause severe liver damage as well as cancer. Hence, they urged pregnant women and lactating moms to avoid eating honey to ensure the safety of their unborn child and infants.

However, despite these precautions, honeybee experts disagreed on these findings and said that the data were just exaggerated as the results seemed not reliable as the samples were collected three years ago. 

Dr. Ben McKee, managing director of Capilano, a company that supplies honey worldwide, said that the report is "alarmist and sensationalist." He also said that consumers had "nothing to fear" as the modern farming techniques don't produce any honey anymore from Paterson's curse.

"Farmer's actions to rid the country of this weed, such as less to no follow rotation of crops, better use of more selective herbicides and the major success of biological control programs, have significantly reduced the presence of Paterson's Curse," McKee said to The West Australia. Likewise, Jodie Goldsworthy from Victorian honey company Beechworth Honey told ABC that the researchers' conclusions are "misleading" and it is "unrealistic." 

While the heating argument is still ongoing, both parties agreed that the best honey is often available at the specialty markets. And consumers should avoid honey that produced from plants, particularly from Paterson's curse.

Meanwhile, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand said that there has been no case of honey poisoning from anywhere around the world.

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