Join Date: Jul 2007
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Well, since the honey they recently found in a Pharoah's tomb was still edible, I'm not too worried about the stuff on my counter.
|It will crystallize if it's sits around too long but just putting the jar in warm water will take care of that.|
|As I understand it it is pasteurized not because of any percieved danger, but to make the honey less prone to crystalization.|
Wife to dh, Mommy to my heavenly angel, J (06), and my earthly angels, S (07) and E (10)
Published in Hivelights Vol 12 #3, May 1999 by Heather Clay
Pasteurization of honey is a marketing issue not a health issue. The heating process in pasteurization extends the shelf life of honey by destroying the natural "seed" crystals that cause granulation and fermentation. Natural sugar tolerant yeasts are present in honey and they will grow if the moisture level is too high (over 18%) and storage temperature too warm. Honey is more likely to ferment after it has granulated, so to prevent both granulation and fermentation, a pasteurization process is used to kill the sugar tolerant yeasts.
In the bulk honey industry where moisture levels in extracted honey are often higher than naturally ripened honey and where packers want their product to remain liquid for a long period of time, pasteurization is a necessity. The commercial equipment at packing establishments is made to heat honey quickly to 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for four minutes and then cool it quickly through a heat exchanger. Without this equipment to heat and cool honey rapidly, the quality of the heated honey would be lower.
Botulism spores and Pasteurized Honey
Honey has a high sugar content which does not support the growth of bacteria. One of the benefits of honey is that it can be used as a bactericide and a healing agent for minor cuts, burns and intestinal upsets. Despite this fact, it is possible for Clostridium botulinum spores to exist in honey. Pasteurization or heat treatment of honey does not kill these spores. Many medical professional mistakenly associate the term pasteurization with the heat sterilization method used in the dairy and apple juice industry. Pasteurization in the honey industry is a process that kills sugar tolerant yeasts in order to extend the shelf life. The heating process is not high enough to break the tough coat of a botulism spore.
The good news is that a recent Health Canada study of Canadian honey from various sources across the country showed no botulism spores.