Food Safety Guides for Honey and Flour

The focus of food safety here is on honey and flour, two essential ingredients in everyday homemade cookies.

Although not yet being used in every cookie recipe, honey is, without a doubt, a preferred sweetener. Regardless, would anyone willingly consume honey without knowing its origin?

We all know that honey comes from bees, of course. What I really mean is the legitimacy of this product. As the following video shows, bees are born to naturally produce honey. The process starts by them sucking out flower nectar, a sugary liquid with about 80% water, and …

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Having tested products labeled "honey" that is sold in various outlets throughout the U.S.A, Food Safety News confirmed that pollen was not present in a majority of these products. Pollen is extremely small particles within flowers. Their presence in honey indicates whether or not honey comes from legitimate and safe sources. Without them, it’s almost impossible for anyone to tell.

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Ultra-filtration may have been the cause for the absence of pollen in honey. A few farmers, however, insisted that the process is necessary to extend the shelf-life of the product. Others argued that ultra-filtration is not only expensive but also negatively affects the flavor and overall quality of honey.

Besides issuing a statement that honey must contain pollen and must not be ultra-filtered, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so far, has not specified any action to insure the presence of pollen in honey being sold in stores in the United States.

Honey is not the only issue on its agenda, the FDA is expected to publish a list of high-risk foods following the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act in January 2011. Wheat and flour will likely be on this list because they are used in large quantity in many products and in so many different ways.

The use of heat-treated flour in commercial cookie dough is expanding and highly encouraged. Flour is a raw ingredient and must be properly cooked or baked before consumption. Raw cookie dough has a potential to foster the growth of harmful bacteria. Using heat-treated flour would likely mitigate this potential.

For bakers of homemade cookies, the implications are:

  • Selecting quality ingredients, of which honey is one.

  • Simply resisting the urge of eating raw cookie dough. Please bake it as directed, give the cookies a few minutes to cool if you can wait, safely share and enjoy them.

Other Cookie Related News


Gelski, Jeff (2011, November 15) Flour, Records and Food Safety

Schneider, Andrew (2011, November 7) Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey