Thursday, May 17, 2012

Myth: Honey is a natural sweetener, so it is safe for all children and adults to consume.

Answer: BUSTED!

Infant Botulism is a very dangerous condition caused by a type of bacteria that can be found in honey. Infants are particularly susceptible to the dangerous properties of the bacteria, and if they get some into their systems, the result can be deadly. The intestinal tract of babies is immature, so once the botulism spores enter their system they can produce a substance called botulism toxin which is released and absorbed through the intestinal tract. If an adult ingests these spores, once in the intestinal tract, the normally existing healthy bacteria present will take care of the spores and prevent illness.

Babies are at risk for the first year of life, but seem to be particularly susceptible between 2 and 4 months. For these reasons, honey should not be given to children under the age of 1.

For more information about feeding your baby visit

Contributors: Loni Stewart, Student Dietitian; Mary Wissmann, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 314-615-2911

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