|A Sticky Mess of a Lawsuit|
|Tuesday, April 17 2012|
Four grocery store chains -- Publix, Target, Walgreen and Aldi -- are being sued by five Florida residents who claim the major food retailers are allegedly selling honey that may not be "honey" because it does not contain pollen. According to news sources, the stores' house brands reportedly carry ultra-filtered honey, which removes the pollen along with bee parts, wax and debris.
"Honey that has pollen should be called 'honey,' and honey that's been filtered so that all the pollen has been removed should be called something else," says attorney J. Andrew Meyer, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys in the class-action lawsuit. Meyer further noted that pollen-less honey should be treated like any other fake food in that it can't be called the real deal.
"When you see fake cheese slices at the store, they're called 'cheese food,' " he explains. "Some people don't mind that. It's less expensive. But it differentiates itself from cheese, which we know is made with milk."
Honey producers have argued that ultra-filtration is necessary in order to give honey the clear look consumers like and prevent it from crystallizing. Meyer counters that this justification goes against Florida law that has set a honey standard which dictates that it must contain pollen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue a set of standards for honey.
"What needs to happen is consumer education," Meyer said. "That's really the thrust of our lawsuit - that there be truth in labeling and consumers understand what they're buying."