The next time you reach for that honey bear, chances are it’s not honey. Honey isn’t honey unless it contains bee pollen. Over 75% of honey tested in American grocery stores contained no pollen. The problem is complicated, and the FDA isn’t much help, as it has yet to set a “standard” for honey. Internationally standards are in place allowing filtration to remove debris such as bits of wax, and wood from the frames. Absolutely no pollen is removed in this process. The only reason to remove pollen, is to hide the source of the honey. Without pollen, it’s impossible to determine to place of origin.
Asian countries, China in particular started dumping honey on the world market. It was cheap, and often tainted with nasty contaminants like animal antibiotics. High tariffs were put on imports of Chinese honey. To get around the problem, they laundered the honey through other countries such as India. This cheap, tainted “honey” not only contains the animal antibiotics, it has large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, and 13 other illegal sweeteners. Without pollen, there’s no way to trace the actual origin.
This link to Food Safety News is a good resource, and explains the situation well.