Botulism In Honey

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Honey, is a very concentrated sugar solution with a high osmotic pressure, making impossible the growth of any microorganisms. It contains fewer microorganisms than other natural food; especially there are no dangerous Bacillus species. Honey contains Bacillus bacteria, causing the dangerous bee pests, but these are not toxic to humans. That is why, to prevent bee pests, honey should not be disposed in open places, where it can easily be accessed by bees. However, some bacteria are present in honey, most of them being harmless to man. Recent extensive reviews covered the main aspects of honey microbiology and the possible risks
The presence of C. botulinum spores in honey was reported for the first time in 1976 since then there were many
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In general, in Europe, the risk of infant botulism is extremely low. The majority of infants suffering from botulism have been given honey. The level and frequency of contamination of honey with spores of Botulinum appear generally to below, although limited microbiological testing of honey has been performed. The routes by which spores of Botulinum contaminate honey have not been precisely identified. Although some geographical regions of the world can be associated with a particular type of C. botulinum in the soil, it is not possible to determine countries as the origin of honey with a greater risk of containing C. botulinum. botulinum can survive as spores in honey but cannot multiply or produce toxins due to the inhibitory properties of honey. At present, there is no process that could be applied to remove or kill spores of C. botulinum in honey without impairing product quality. Microbiological testing would not be an effective control option against infant botulism, due to the sporadic occurrence and low levels of C. botulinum in honey”. (Handbook for Epidemiology, 1998)

2.4.2 YEAST
Honey contains naturally different osmotolerant yeast, which can cause undesirable fermentation. Osmotolerant yeasts can particularly develop in honey with high moisture content.
Lochhead summarized investigations on the relationship between moisture content and fermentation on 319 Samples as
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In temperate climates, most honeys crystallize at normal storage temperatures. This is because honey is an over saturated sugar solution, i.e. it contains more sugar than can remain in solution. Crystallized honey does not imply that it has gone bad or has been adulterated with sugar. The crystallization results from the formation of monohydrate glucose crystals, which vary in number, shape, dimension and quality with the honey composition and storage conditions. The lower the water and the higher the glucose content of honey, the faster the crystallization. Temperature is important, since above 250C° and below 50C virtually no crystallization occurs. Around 14°C is the optimum temperature for rapid crystallization, but also the presence of solid particles (e.g. pollen grains) and slow stirring result in quicker crystallization. Usually, slow crystallization produces bigger and more irregular crystals.
During crystallization, water is freed. Consequently, the water content of the liquid phase increases and with it the risk of fermentation. Thus, partially crystallized honey may present preservation problems, which is why controlled and complete crystallization is often induced deliberately. Also, partially crystallized or reliquaries honey is not an attractive presentation for retail

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