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Author Topic: Botulism  (Read 4959 times)

Offline Bee Boy

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« on: January 03, 2005, 06:29:05 PM »
My ma was wondering if honey extracted straight from the hive could cause botulism. I thought it was only the super heated junk you buy at the super market that could cause that. So i guess my question is, can honey fresh from the hive cause botulism in infants or small children?

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Offline Jerrymac

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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2005, 06:54:17 PM »
Not sure of the answer but have seen labels warning not to give to young children.
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Re: Botulism
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2005, 08:26:35 PM »
Bee Boy

In most of the books that I have read...Childern under the age of 1 should not be given ANY kind of honey as they have yet to build up a tolerance to the POLLEN that is in ALL honey...Raw or store bought.

Because honey has a very low moisture count it is difficult for bacteria to grow. Try making Mead...it requires that you add lots of water in order for the yeast cells to grow and produce Alcohol.

I believe that the botulism myth and I do mean myth...is a mistake! pollen is the concern not Botulism!


Offline Kris^

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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2005, 11:54:59 PM »
The spores that causes botulism are often present in honey (as it is in almost all fresh vegetables and fruits).  The spore itself is difficult to detroy, which is why pressure canning is used to preserve many vegetables, to bring the temperature above 240 degrees F.  But the spore will not "germinate" in an acidic environment (why pickles can be canned in a simple hot water bath).  The intestinal tract is generally acidic enough to keep the spores from developing into botulism bacteria, but an infant's system is not yet developed enough.  It is possible for the spores to grow into bacteria in an infant's gut, and create the toxins that can lead to botulism poisoning.  It's rare, but possible.

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Offline asleitch

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Re: Botulism
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2005, 08:56:09 AM »
Quote from: Bee Boy
M I thought it was only the super heated junk you buy at the super market that could cause that. Bee Boy

Funny, I thought that was what got rid of it. The (almost) only benefit I could see for heating it. I believe as indicated in the answer above, botulism is present in soil etc, so easily finds it way into honey supers as you move them around etc. I have seen it recommended you try and avoid putting honey supers on the floor where possible next to the hive, always use a spare stand/coverboard/upturned roof etc.


Offline Finman

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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2005, 09:12:23 AM »
National Food Agency of Finland
Press release 4/26.2.2001

No honey for children under one year of age

The presence of Clostridium botulinum bacteria in honey on sale in shops in Finland has been determined in a study commissioned by the National Food Administration and carried out by the Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene in the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The results of this study indicated that C.botulinum spores were present in an appreciable proportion of honey samples.

A total of 190 samples were studied, 114 of them from Finnish honey and 76 from honey originating abroad. Among the Finnish honey samples, C.botulinum spores were detected in 9 (8%) of the samples, and among the foreign ones 11 (14%) of the samples.

Cases of a serious type of food poisoning, termed infant botulism, caused by the botulinus toxin produced by C.botulinum are known among children under one year of age. Honey, as the only food, has been shown to be the source of infection in cases of infant botulism. On the basis of the present study it can be assumed that the feeding of both Finnish and foreign honey to under one year-old children carries a risk of the child suffering from infant botulism.

Honey is completely safe for adults. C. botulinum spores do not cause any harm to them. On th contrary, children aged less than one year are sensitive for an infection that is caused by ingestion of botulinal spores.

In the Nordic countries, five incidences of infant botulism were recorded in 1997-1999, once in Denmark and four times in Norway. In all these cases, honey contaminated with C.botulinum spores was the source of the botulism.

Although prenatal and child welfare clinics distribute information to parents on the risk of botulism associated with honey, the National Food Administration considers that, due to the serious nature of infant botulism, more information on this matter ought to be communicated to the public. The National Food Administration is currently considering possible steps to be taken, for example warnings in honey packages. The botulism risk associated with honey is also receiving attention in the EU scientific committee.


Source: The occurrence of Clostridium botulinum in honey on sale in Finnish shops. National Food Administration, Report 9/2000. (in Finnish)


Further information:

Senior Food Control Officer Maija Hatakka, National Food Administration,

tel. +358 9 7726 7615

Researcher Mari Nevas, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,

tel. +358 9 1914 9744 (carrying out of study)

Offline Sting

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Re: Botulism
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2005, 04:09:28 PM »
Quote from: Anonymous
I believe that the botulism myth and I do mean myth...is a mistake! pollen is the concern not Botulism!


You are dead wrong Guest or williebanks!
It is no myth.  I think that Kris and Finman have pretty much nailed the facts on botulism, so I won't add anything further in that regard at this time.
However, this is a good time for us all to reflect on our individual responsibility, within this forum, to get the facts right.  We look to each other for experienced and knowledgeable advice.  Please don't make any assertions if you don't know what you are talking about.  Someone may believe you and act accordingly.  In the case of infant botulism, the results could be deadly.
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Offline Jay

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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2005, 10:45:53 PM »
I have a two year old, and before I ever knew anything about bees, our peditrician told us, no honey for her untill she is a year old! This seems to be common practice amongst peditritions. If it was your child, I don't think you would want to take any chances! I know I don't!!! :D
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2005, 01:24:26 AM »
This subject was brought up a while back and Kris has hit the nail right on the head with his answer. All of the references and studies that were quoted in the earlier discussion showed that the botulism spore was present in many honeys and was capable of producing toxin producing bacteria in the gut of infants thus producing botulism poisoning. As Kris stated the spores are not capable of producing the bacteria in humans over one year old.