Tupelo Honey is a premium American sweet - and, some say, it's Van Morrison's best album. But it's cheap ($16 for 12 ounces) compared to Elvish honey from Turkey, which runs about $194 an ounce.
This new global market for super-honey is why North American consumers should BEEware. There's a buzz about counterfeit honey flooding our grocery store shelves, and it's threatening not just your enjoyment of a cuppa tea - and your wallet - but it could sap honey's health benefits.
Since we stopped China from dumping cheap honey on the U.S. market, they've started selling it to other countries, where it's repackaged after distributors wave local fruit or herbs over it and declare it to be "Genuine Exotic Honey."
When it shows up here, it's been filtered, so pollen (and some healthy ingredients) has been removed. There's no way to check its origin (pollen is honey's "DNA" fingerprint).
The sweet solution? Senate bill S-662 is designed to protect farmers from unscrupulous overseas honey exporters; let's hope it passes.
But whether it does or not, you should opt for local, raw or unfiltered honey that still contains all the healthy ingredients. If you aren't overweight or don't have prediabetes or diabetes, honey's high glycemic index - it's 70 percent to 80 percent sugar - shouldn't prevent you from occasionally enjoying a small (less than 1/2 teaspoon) amount.
It can help suppress a cough, ease heartburn, promote sleep and boost immunity (try drinking a tiny amount of honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a 1/2 cup of hot water).
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate