Quantcast

Young children - honey safety

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
I seem to remember something about not feeding honey to children under a year of age (botulism risk?), does anyone have chapter, verse, and the truth about it?
 

roche 

Field Bee
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
863
Reaction score
0
Location
Newburyish
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
This thread, particularly the link from M100 covers it. I think Chris Broads comments are very good too.
 

Midland Beek 

Drone Bee
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
0
Location
South Staffs
Hive Type
none
There is stuff on the internet out there; mostly American in origin. Infants can be particularly vulnerable to a type of botulism poisoning because of their lack of immunity, which I guess you are already aware of.
 

thurrock bees 

Drone Bee
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
1,084
Reaction score
0
Location
Haywards Heath, Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
27
mine have had it from birth, they are fine and love honey. i see it as a natural food so i cant see how it will hurt them?
 

admin 

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
6,393
Reaction score
1
Location
Hampshire uk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
As I understand it samples were taken many years ago of shop bought Honey and they had traces of chinese honey in them.

Chinese honey is known to of at times carried Botulism spores so it was decided not to risk it with infants under one.
 

victor meldrew 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
6,344
Reaction score
6
Location
Wigan
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
As I understand it samples were taken many years ago of shop bought Honey and they had traces of chinese honey in them.

Chinese honey is known to of at times carried Botulism spores so it was decided not to risk it with infants under one.
I don't recall a single case of 'Floppy baby syndrome'(Botulism) in the UK.
Precious few have been reported in the USA!,from where the recommendation to advise against feeding honey to infants of under 2 years of age emanated!

John Wilkinson
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,657
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
Botulism

Infant botulism is rare in the UK (only 8 cases up to 2008). However within a year there have been 3 cases, ALL linked to feeding honey. Hence the advice.

However, what isn't detailed is the source of the suspect honey. Since most honey consumed by the majority of the UK population (especially those with reduced immunity and inadequate bowel flora due to feeding formula milk) is likely to be cheap imported stuff from eg China then that is probably the source. However DoH are obviously being cautious with their recommendations.

Honey is still fine if incorporated in foods subject to heat treatment that kills C.botulinum spores.
 

Adam 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 21, 2010
Messages
362
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
8
mine have had it from birth, they are fine and love honey. i see it as a natural food so i cant see how it will hurt them?
Odd logic. Just because your sample of X children have never suffered doesn't mean their is not a risk. Probably they have never been smacked by a speeding car either but that doesn't mean their isn't a risk.

The undeveloped guts of an infant are insufficient to protect them from botulinum spores which may start to replicate in the gut lining. The chances are relatively low although their was a cluster of cases earlier this year.

From the web: "Infant botulism is a potentially life-threatening disease in which the bacteria Clostridium botulinum grows within the baby's gastrointestinal tract."


A good place to look for more information is the Health Protection Agency. http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/Infect...botu020InfantBotulismLaboratoryreportedcases/

You'll see from the link it's very rare, although a number of cases occurred earlier this year I believe. The evidence seems pretty inconclusive to guarentee the source of spores was honey, and infants over 6 months seem to have a level of protection.

Found what I was looking for. From the HPA website. Nasty stuff if you read it through to the end, although I would say not absolutely conclusive, it certainly seems to make a link and I wouldn't feed it to my children. Sadly, they don't comment on the origin of the honey.

"

Third case of infant botulism associated with consumption of honey within a year

There has been a recent confirmed case of botulism in a 15 week old infant with a history of honey consumption. This is the third case of infant botulism associated with honey consumption reported to the HPA since August 2009 and raises concerns that health warnings advising against feeding honey to infants less than one year of age are not being followed.

Infant botulism is a rare disease in the UK, only eight cases having been reported up until the end of 2008. This illness occurs when infants, less than one year old, ingest spores of C. botulinum which, due to the immaturity of the infant gut flora, are able to germinate and produce toxin in the intestinal tract. Botulinum neurotoxin is absorbed through the intestine into the circulation and binds at its target site, the neuromuscular junction, blocking release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine leading to flaccid paralysis. Typically the first clinical sign of illness in infants is constipation, defined as three or more days without a bowel movement, followed by lethargy, difficulties in feeding, generalised muscle weakness and weak cry.

Treatment for infant botulism includes human derived botulism immunoglobulin (babyBIG®, which is available from the Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Programme in California, USA), together with respiratory and nutritional supportive care. Administration of babyBIG® should be prompt and not delayed for laboratory confirmation of diagnosis as it neutralises free toxin preventing it binding to the neuromuscular junction. Early treatment with babyBIG® has been shown to reduce length of time in paediatric intensive care as well as overall length of hospital stay: it has been used to treat two previous cases of infant botulism in the UK

In 2009 two cases of infant botulism were reported in the UK – occurring in August and September, in England and Scotland respectively [1]. In both cases infants had a history of being fed honey. In the second case, the same type of C. botulinum was detected in honey consumed by the infant as was isolated from faecal specimens. In mid-May this year, a third confirmed case of infant botulism with a history of honey consumption was reported. A 15 week old male infant was admitted to a regional hospital on 12 May with lethargy, irritability, poor feeding and a history of constipation. The diagnosis of infant botulism was confirmed by PCR detection of C. botulinum Type E neurotoxin (BoNT E) genes in faecal specimens incubated in cooked meat broth medium. Botulinum Type E neurotoxin is a rare cause of infant botulism being reported in only seven cases throughout the world. Interestingly, BoNT E can be produced not only by C. botulinum but also by Clostridium butyricum and six of the seven reported cases have been caused by C. butyricum expressing a BoNT type E gene. Full identification of the clostridial species from the most recent UK infant botulism case is currently under way.

Infant botulism is a rare disease in the UK and three reported cases in less than one year is highly unusual. The increase in cases may be due to improved recognition of symptoms by clinicians although in all cases infants were symptomatic for several days before infant botulism was considered as a possible diagnosis. Although C. botulinum spores are widely distributed in soil and dust, all three cases had a history of honey consumption which is the main dietary risk factor for infant botulism. To lower the risk of infant botulism in the UK it is important that advice against feeding any honey to infants less than one year of age is provided and followed by those with responsibility for infants of this age group.

Further information on infant botulism and specimen and sample testing can be obtained from Dr Kathie Grant at the Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Pathogens, Centre for Infection on 020 8327 6505. Information on the supply of babyBIG® is available from the Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Programme, California (http://www.infantbotulism.org/).

Reference

1.Anon (2009). Two cases of infant botulism associated with the consumption of honey. Health Protection Report 2009; 3(46), http://www.hpa.org.uk/hpr/archives/2009/news4609.htm#honey."
 

Nomadickarl 

New Bee
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
none
Botulism

With 2 under 2 I have looked into this. The advice is definitely not to give honey to those under 1. I do not have a problem with this, it is an avoidable risk.

This is avoidable with no detriment to the child. Even if it was one in a million I would still not take the risk. Why would you? Each to their own though.

Happy 1st Birthday child, have some honey!
 

Skyhook 

Queen Bee
Joined
May 19, 2010
Messages
3,054
Reaction score
0
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
5
mine have had it from birth, they are fine and love honey. i see it as a natural food so i cant see how it will hurt them?
A common misconception. All infections are natural. Ricin is natural. Cyanide is natural. Natural does not mean safe. How did people get on in the old days when all food was natural and there were no artificial medicines? Simple, lots of them died young.
 

FenBee 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 25, 2009
Messages
213
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6
It is a bit like stating the obvious, but to help avoid contamination and it is just good hygiene, you should not place honey supers directly on the ground, but place them on an inverted roof or similar stand instead.
 

Chris B 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,205
Reaction score
0
Location
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
300
feed your kids cheap sh*te chinese honey and you get what you deserve.
I think it's the antibiotics rather than botulism you should be more concerned about judging by fairly recent history. Or have the Chinese cleaned things up recently?
 

dilys 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
national
I have always suspected that botulinum spores in honey could be due to extracting from brood comb. I see the current fashion for so-called "natural beekeeping", where all the comb harvested has had brood reared in it, as a backward step in hygiene.

Dil
 

Hombre 

Queen Bee
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
2,818
Reaction score
0
Location
West Midlands
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
Ten
". . . or have the Chinese cleaned things up recently?"

Interesting phrase perhaps . . .

Starting at around para 17 . . .
Meanwhile, another phenomenon has been adding to the turbulence in the global honey market – ultrafiltered or “UF” honey. First noticed in the US, it is honey with almost everything taken out, including the impurities.

Of course if it arrives blended . . .

Perhaps it's ust gone underground due to the scrutiny . . .
 

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
"I see the current fashion for so-called "natural beekeeping", where all the comb harvested has had brood reared in it" is both inaccurate and misleading
 

victor meldrew 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
6,344
Reaction score
6
Location
Wigan
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
"I see the current fashion for so-called "natural beekeeping", where all the comb harvested has had brood reared in it" is both inaccurate and misleading
Elucidate ?
Some natural systems but perhaps not all use honey extracted from brood comb.
I doubt this being the cause of botulism , bees clean cells obsessively.
Botulism is caused by spores which are wide spread in the environment ,mainly in fresh vegetables . One wouldn't consider feeding an infant of under 12 months ,raw salad so common sense should suggest don't feed raw honey to babies !!

John Wilkinson
 

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
It is, as I said, both inaccurate and misleading (and fairly typical of the "let's bash natural beekeeping even though we don't know much about it" attitude)

In a Kenyan top bar hive, it is eminently possible to harvest comb that has honey in it that has never housed brood - and often Warre hives are criticised for letting the bees store honey in "old brood comb", totally overlooking the fact that incoming nectar is initially stored in brood comb and only later moved by house bees to the supers.
Secondly, honey is moved about the nest by the bees and thereby transported from brood comb to supers. Thirdly there is the fact that super comb is used year after year. (30 years is not unknown)
So, rather than the "backward step in hygiene" that is claimed, one could quite reasonably say that (the misnamed) Natural Beekeeping is actually likely to be MORE hygienic and intrinsically safer - as no foundation is used, it starts without the chemical residues found in most commercial foundation, and it tends to be a "one season" life for the comb..... Ally that to your observed natural cleaning behaviour of bees.......

I asked the question to find out what the consensus was, and I've been very gratified by most of the responses, people have taken the time to look out references, and I've been most grateful, but as one of those loony fringe who use top bar hives, it rankles when unfair and inaccurate criticism is levelled at them.
I'd tend towards the "it's everywhere in nature" view myself, and still have my doubts as to whether carefully home-produced honey is any more intrinsically dangerous than many foodstuffs....
 

Latest posts

Top