Response from Sue Bee Honey

From: Bill Huser []
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 3:06 PM
Cc: 'Allibone Dave';
Subject: Sue Bee Honey

Dear Kerry:
Thank you for this link and your comments. Forgive my delay in answering, but the link makes so many unsubstantiated remarks, generalizations, assumptions and errant conclusions that it deserves a lengthy, time consuming rebuttal.

I will start with this: Sue Bee Honey is 100% pure honey as made by the honey bee. At Sue Bee we do extensive testing to confirm purity and geographic origin of our honeys. Sue Bee Honey is made by the Sioux Honey Association, an agricultural marketing cooperative of approximately 300 US beekeepers, whose bees make honey in the USA while pollinating US crops. All our Sue Bee brand products are 100% Product of the USA, with one exception – the 5lb jug sold exclusively in Sam’s Club is a blend of US and Canada honeys.

Sue Bee Clover Honey is a filtered honey. This filtration is NOT ultra-filtration, a term used widely and incorrectly in nearly all articles concerning honey. This filtration process, virtually unchanged since the 1950’s, has the purpose of removing visible particles of foreign material from the honey to make a clean, clear product and to discourage granulation. This process unavoidably removes the pollen that incidentally gets into the honey. As a beekeeper, you know that honey bees store pollen separate from honey in the hive. It is only through incidental ‘tracking’ by the bees and extraction work by the beekeeper that pollen is introduced to the honey. This has long been recognized and is the basis for the honey definition used by the industry, the USDA and the FDA: ‘Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on living parts of plants, which the bees collect , transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit , dehydrate, store and leave in the honeycomb to ripen and mature.’ Honey is made from nectar and plant secretions, not from pollen. Pollen is not an essential component of honey.

That being said, pollen within the honey delivered to Sue Bee is used to determine the geographic origin of the honey. Honey not from regions claimed is refused.

A critique of the entire blog you reference would be very lengthy, but let me start with the faulty logic. Illegally imported honey is filtered to remove pollen indicating it source. Therefore, all filtered honey is illegally imported. This is a modern version of a Logic 101 example of bad logic: All puppies are dogs. Therefore, all dogs must be puppies!

To pick a few others:
The section headed with ‘Why Remove the Pollen?’ is basically comments made by a knowledgeable beekeeper but one who knows nothing about the filtration techniques used by packers and misuses the term ‘ultra-filtration’ and clearly does not understand it. He has since apologized to us for these ‘off the cuff’ remarks. Also, the assumption that filtration is only done to ‘prevent the majority of the public from obtaining all the benefits found in raw honey’ is both cynical  and untrue. Filtration is, and has been, done for the purposes of foreign material removal and granulation control.

The table labeled ‘What are the differences between Raw unpasteurized honey and pasteurized processed Golden Honey’ is biased, unscientific and inaccurate. Secondly, Sue Bee Honey is not pasteurized and would not belong in the ‘pasteurized’ column. Many of the check marks from the raw honey column apply to Sue Bee Clover Honey.

And lastly, the ‘4 ways to spot artificial honey’ is a travesty. If there were any chemical basis for these non-scientific tests, Sue Bee would not be spending tens of thousands of dollars per year for such methods as ‘AOAC Official Method 998.12 C-4 Plant Sugars in Honey by Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio method.’ These 4 tests may roughly reflect moisture levels but in no way indicate the sugars present or whether they are honey sugars or non-honey sugars.

I’m sorry I don’t have the time to continue a point by point review, but hope this review has been a help to you for your presentation to the Georgia beekeepers.

Best regards,
Bill Huser
V.P. of R.&D.
Sioux Honey Association
301 Lewis Blvd.
Sioux City, IA  51101


  1. This is a really in-depth article about honey. I know a lot about what you're talking about because my neighbors growing up were bee keepers. They planted clover near the hives so that the bees would collect the clover and make honey out of it. Clover honey is a lot lighter in color than normal honey. It's one of my favorite kinds of honey.

  2. I'm from Omaha Nebraska & Kansas City Missouri. Sue Bee has always been the ONLY honey used from Tea to Barbecue. Keep it REAL!