Botulism & Honey

I recently purchased a raw honey product from my local supermarket. I have subsequently been informed that should I decide to consume my honey, I am likely to suffer an untimely demise and/or be put on a respirator for the rest of my life. The reason being that raw honey may contain Botulism spores. So intial googlin seems to indicate that there is indeed some validity to all this, and so the question becomes, how likely am I, a young, healthy person with an uncompromised immune system, to contract botulism from eating the raw honey I have recently acquired? Are there any stats available on the incidence of botulism from honey in North America?

many thanks.



As far as I know, honey does frequently contain botulism spores, but no botulism toxin. Adults’ digestive system is able to destroy the spores, but not infants’ digestive system, so you shouldn’t give honey to young children since they could develop botulism as a consequence. But since you (presumably) are an adult, you shouldn’t have any problem.

This said, I’m not a doctor, so maybe you should wait for one to come to this thread.

One of several previous threads:

Lots of food has botulism spores. It’s usually ok as long as you’re a healthy adult.

jnglmassiv: Thanks for the link, but it appears that thread really only addresses the risks to babies. I’d really like to established the incidence of botulism infections in the adult american population as caused through honey. Despite the helpful bacteria in my gut, is there still a chance I could succumb to the spores?

Clostridium botulinum is an anarobic, spore forming bacteria that, as it dies and the cells break open, excretes the toxin, Botulism.
Since your GI tract is full of air, the bacteria will not grow, so it won’t die, or break open releasing death into your body.
If you want more, read the other thread. :slight_smile:

So the consensus is that there is zero percent chance of an adult contracting the disease from eating honey?

Nver say 0% and never say 100%.

One source (PDF file) says this about adult intestinal botulism. Although they do not specifically mention honey with regard to adults, they mention it with babies, and then then see below:

The toxin does wear off eventually. If someone finds you and sticks you on a ventilator, you’ll come out of it. And you’ll aparently be concious the whole time. You’ll only die if the asphixiation sets in before anyone can help you.