There has been an article circulating the bee world that I find really interesting and a bit disturbing. It is about how much of the honey purchased in stores lacks pollen. What happens is during the filtration stage of honey extraction, the company uses a really fine filter to remove anything that isn’t honey, so pollen, wax, propolis, bee parts, etc. To get it through the fine filter, it needs to be heated pretty high, which changes the taste of the honey. I am a big fan of straining out the random bee bits in the honey, but, to me, removing the pollen from honey is like removing the honey’s essence. Part of the reason I love honey is because I like to think about where it comes from and how what I am eating is a composite from millions of flowers. The pollen in honey allows you to trace the flowers the bees visited to make that honey.
Removal of pollen to avoid tracing it to particular flowers is actually one of the reasons this level of filtration happens. China has become notorious for trying to avoid honey importation tariffs by importing Chinese honey to the US through different countries. By eliminating the pollen in the Chinese honey, they eliminate the ability for the FDA to trace the honey back to China and identify it as illegally imported.
The lesson I take from this is to buy honey from local beekeepers or beekeepers I know or from the company’s whose honey did have pollen. There is no reason to use that fine of a filtration system on honey, so I will support those that keep the honey’s history in the bottle.