Honey and Health 

Friday 20th April 2012

  • Why can’t we talk about honey and health? 
  • Find out how a mad bit of regulation is being used in the UK
  • A trumpet call for sanity and a blow for reason

The Good Life Letter has been raided by the Feds!

It’s true, my publishers contacted me the other day and told me that we were under the cosh for contravening the law of the land. Trading Standards had raised a complaint.

Naturally, they chose to e-mail me rather than phone me as they guessed what my reaction would be...

...when I had calmed down I sat back in my chair and began to think.

What on earth had I been doing or saying which might have provoked a heavy handed response?

I’ve had a few digs at the medical establishment of late, but surely I’m not alone in that one.

My long running campaign against the indiscriminate prescribing of statins may have ruffled a few feathers in the pharmaceutical industry, but hardly enough to rattle their cage.

Even my forthright views against the big supermarkets and their cosy relationship with purveyors of mass produced food pornography shouldn’t have elicited too much of a response.

I was intrigued.

I phoned into the office and asked what I had done wrong. Had I overstepped the mark in my criticisms?

Had medical science discovered that some of the natural and wholesome products we support were a cause of a major outbreak?

When I discovered why we were to be the subject of an investigation I couldn’t help but fall about laughing.

Here is the actual detail that the local Trading Standards officials sent;

“The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations, only allow health claims to be used on foods if they are featured on a list which is approved by the European Food Safety Authority. The claims that you are making regarding honey are not approved claims. Please remove any medicinal or health claims regarding the honey from your website.”

Yep you read that right, we were guilty of saying that honey is good for you!

A world gone mad

I immediately had a look at the [Good Life Shop] to see what we were saying, as I didn’t think we were being too dramatic in our claims. http://www.goodlifeshop.co.uk/

I mean we don’t claim to cure cancer, or allow severed limbs to re-grow or indeed promise to improve nocturnal gymnastics.

This is what we have on the site as far as health claims go;

“Our Manuka Honey is rated high on the UMF scale meaning its anitbacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are superior.

Active honey has been used for centuries to heal everything from cuts and scrapes to mild burns.  Manuka Honey is even used by the NHS for wound care!

Thanks to the unique way that it's been creamed, when you buy Manuka Honey from The Good Life Shop, you can be confident that it won't crystallise in the jar meaning its lasting power is impressive.  Put it to the test!

Honey for health can be kept in the kitchen cupboard or the bathroom cabinet as it's a true multipurpose health product.

Buy Manuka honey to drizzle over your toast or heal your ailments.  Either way, you'll be hooked.”

So our crime was to imply that Manuka honey was capable of helping control bacteria and inflammation, and even goes so far as to claim it is being used by the NHS.

Well, since the times of the ancients honey has been revered and used to heal the body as well as feed it.

The Egyptians worshiped the bee. The Romans wrote prolific manuscripts about its healing properties.

Avicenna, the ancient founder of Persian medicine and arguably the most revered of medical scholars went even further.

In his essay about the great man Shima Sepehr1 says that Avicenna mentions honey 1400 times in the Canon of Medicine clearly discussing its use for internal and external therapeutic use.

But it is not just these forefathers of modern medical philosophy who recognised how important honey is to help us.

Right up to the modern day researchers and scientists are publishing full, peer reviewed articles stating how active raw Manuka honey does the business.

For instance, when hunting for an effective way to deal with wounds infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) a team at the NHS Maxillofacial unit in Surrey tried Manuka Honey dressings.

They concluded;

‘Honey dressings are now among our first line of treatment for early wound infections. No adverse reactions have been noted, even in diabetic patients.’2

Just that one article alone supports my statement about the NHS using Manuka honey for wound care doesn’t it?

No, the world of the bureaucrat is even madder than a jelly with a hat

When all this was pointed out to the loyal followers of triplicate form filling they were having none of it.

Apparently, the law now states that any food product can only claim health benefits if the European Food Standards Agency has approved it.

Our attention was directed to Annex 13 of the European Code under which the framework for the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations (England) 2007 are enacted.

Well, I say fie and poppycock to such stuff.

I will continue to talk about raw, pure Manuka honey as a real natural health promoting product. Furthermore, there is more than one jar in my medicine cabinet which I will be applying to cuts, sores and bites.

I shall be adding a spoonful to a drop of warm water and lemon juice and drinking it every morning to stop coughs & colds and help me avoid hay fever.

Moreover, I will be doing all of this with my wife and my kids and on occasion even my dog.

And if that is breaking the law then I await the Sweeney roaring into my driveway to kick down my door in a dawn raid and haul my sorry butt off to jail.

Bring it on!

Yours, as always

1 Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science 2(1): 31-60 (2010)

2British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 55–56



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