If you have swapped out Honey in exchange for artificial sweeteners in an attempt to avoid corn derivates, you may still be consuming corn.
Since you may not be eager to give up honey entirely, it is important to know how and why it may be contaminated, so you can ask questions that may help you find corn-free honey!
Corn may extend it’s reach to honey either by directly being added to the end result, as an unlabeled ingredient in the form of HFCS, or because HFCS is sometimes fed directly to honey bees.
Have you ever heard of eating local honey to help with your allergies? The idea behind this theory is that the honey will contain bits of pollen and with continued exposure you may become less allergic. That’s not really a topic to discuss here, other then the correlation that the bee consumes the pollen, and traces of pollen result in the honey.
Pollen will not be the only food source for a honey bee, and other foods consumed by the bee will result in the honey, just as the pollen does. It is common practice to provide supplemental food options to keep the bees alive during times when their natural food source is scarce. The “seasons” will differ depending on location, but the end result is the same. The beekeeper may provide a sugar syrup to the bees, and this sugar syrup could be one of many types of sugar, including High Fructose Corn Syrup.
HoneyBeeWorld.com, a source of information for beekeepers, explains the various options for supplemental feeding for honey bees. BeeSource.com provides test results that show they were able to detect that bees fed HFCS produce honey with traces of HFCS present.
Now, how can we go about finding corn-free honey? The answer is similar to finding other corn-free products. You must know your source. Simply buying a jar of honey at the grocery store won’t tell you if there are traces of HFCS in the honey. The only way to know for sure if your honey is corn-free, is to talk to the beekeeper.
Find a Farmer’s Market in your area, and talk to the local honey producers. You will want to know what season the bees are receiving supplemental feeding, and, what food source is provided. Not all beekeepers approve of feeding HFCS to the bees (the test results on BeeSource.com show bees live shorter lives when fed HFCS!) so this is not a blanket rule of how things are done. It is however how the commercial, larger companies are run.
Even though you may be able to obtain “safe” honey locally, you will likely want to avoid Honey as a labeled ingredient in food packages. It is as much of a catch-all ingredient as “Natural Flavors.”
The last question that remains is, should beeswax be avoided for the same reason? If you are an active label reader (and with a corn allergy, you should be), you will know that the majority of readily available lip products contain beeswax. Whether you use lip balm, lip gloss, or lip stick – beeswax will likely be involved. To this question, I have no definitive answer. I was unable to find concrete information about corn appearing in beeswax, largely because I think this has not been tested.
It makes sense that if corn appears in the honey, it will in the beeswax as well. If you would like to avoid using beeswax, you may want to look for Vegan cosmetic products because if an item is considered Vegan, it will not contain any byproducts from animals or insects. Of course this will just help you in your search to find items that do not contain beeswax. You will still need to verify all other ingredients are corn-free.