What is Honey Pasteurization? Pros & Cons

Most people consume honey in its natural form without issues. However, there are some who are affected by the yeast and other components in honey who may require purification of the honey before consumption. One such purification method being honey pasteurization.

Honey pasteurization is the passing of honey through extreme heat (70°C), making it smooth and clear. The heating removes the yeast and antioxidants in the honey, giving it a different taste. The pasteurization process involves intense heating with the sole purpose of improving its quality.

The quality is improved by preventing fermentation, thereby increasing its shelf-life. The entire process needs to be done in a clean environment to avoid contamination. If you’re a beekeeper, honey pasteurization is one way beekeepers increase their income. Before you indulge, you need to be fully aware of what honey pasteurization involves.

Jars of Honey on Shelves

What is honey pasteurization?

Honey pasteurization is the heating of honey under high temperatures of 70 degrees celsius, then cooling it off immediately. The process is meant to improve the quality of the honey by eliminating the common antioxidants found in honey. This improves your honey quality and lifespan.

In milk and juices, pasteurization is done as a safety measure, whereas for honey, the process boosts its quality. When heating the honey, you get rid of the yeast present in honey that causes some people to have stomach upsets when they consume honey. 

It also gives it a smooth taste, making it easier to consume and digest. With honey being the most famous insect product, the yellow striped insects can make you a fortune if you properly use honey pasteurization.

Why pasteurize honey?

There are different reasons why you should consider pasteurizing honey. They include:

1. Eliminates Yeast

Honey is formed from nectar found in flowers and other plants. Nectar contains yeast cells that can reproduce in the right environment.

Although honey is low in moisture, you have to pasteurize the honey to be sure you have eliminated all the yeast cells.

Yeast is a problematic ingredient as it poses several challenges to the body. Among them:

  • Digestive problems
  • Rough skin
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Facial rashes
  • Gas and bowel inflammation
  • Migraines 

So if you are on medicines that have your yeast levels up, then if you consume natural raw honey, chances are the high yeast uptake will cause you problems.

Yeast uptake needs to be controlled, and the best way to do it is by consuming pasteurized honey.

2. Prevents Fermentation

The one wrong thing with fermented honey is that it may attract other harmful bacteria and microorganisms that can potentially harm you.

Fermented honey is a haven for other unpleasant organisms that may affect your digestive system. To avoid such scenarios, just go for pasteurized honey. You are guaranteed that all yeast cells have been eliminated, thus no chances of fermentation.

3. Prevents Granulation

Honey is naturally a supersaturated liquid, given its high sugar content. Granulation occurs when the glucose particles disintegrate from the liquid honey. Naturally, honey contains two types of sugars: glucose and fructose. When the glucose particles in their solid form sediments, that’s granulation.

Is it harmful? Not in any way.

However, if you are not a fan of crystallized honey, ensure that you don’t store it in that cold and chilly basement. Instead, have it stored in an area under room temperature.

Or, take the easier route and have pasteurized honey. Pasteurized honey will hardly crystallize, making it your better option.

4. Increases Honey’s Shelf-life

Pasteurized honey has a longer life span compared to raw unpasteurized honey. Why so?

With the elimination of yeast cells and air bubbles during the heating process, you eliminate any room for contamination.

The clear and smooth pasteurized honey will have an extended life cycle compared to raw honey.

5. Appealing

If someone sets out two separate jars, one with raw honey and the other with pasteurized honey, there is a high chance your eyes will be attracted to the pasteurized one.

The smooth and clear look of the pasteurized honey will have you hooked. The taste is also appealing, and when applied, it’s less messy due to the improved texture.

Some people won’t budge from consuming raw honey with all these benefits. Why is that?

Because they feel that the downsides of pasteurized honey outweigh these benefits, what are the downsides?

Downsides to Pasteurized Honey

Some of the disadvantages of pasteurized honey include:

1. Removes Bee Pollen

Pasteurization involves heating the honey under high temperatures, which removes the bee pollen present.

Bee pollen in honey is important as it’s responsible for honey’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Eliminating it means that the pasteurized honey is highly acidic and unfavorable for your gut health.

2. Removes Healthy Antioxidants

Honey contains high nutritional value depending on the pollen the bees feed on. This gives raw honey a high level of antioxidants. Humans require a certain level and types of antioxidants as they help build a strong immune system.

For instance, honey contains phenolic acids and flavonoids, which are responsible for the antioxidant properties of honey.

When heated, you eliminate these acids and subject your body to oxidative stress, which is harmful to your body. The stress has been attributed to some of the worst chronic illnesses, such as cancer.

Over the years, raw honey has been adapted and recommended due to its curative power. But with pasteurization, you may lose all these benefits.

3. Can Be Adulterated

Some people feel that pasteurized honey is adulterated, whereby other substances and chemicals are added to give it a fake natural taste.

Some vendors go a step further to add sweeteners and sugars to the pasteurized honey, thereby eroding some of the natural benefits of honey.

If you are a regular honey consumer, you will easily tell the difference in taste and feel in the pasteurized honey.

What is pasteurized, unpasteurized, and raw honey?

When shopping for honey, you’ll encounter these terms, so you must familiarize yourself with them to understand what you are about to consume.

Types of honeyWhat are they?
Raw honeyPure, unpasteurized, unheated, and unprocessed honey. Has all health benefits.
Medical grade honeyHigh in microbial properties. Good for treating cuts, burns, and scapes.
Organic honeyMade in an area free of fertilizers and pesticides.
Food grade honeyAny type of honey that isn’t medical grade.
Pasteurized honeyHeated and treated to kill microbes. Not the healthiest.

1. Pasteurized Honey

This is honey that has been subjected to heating to about 70 degrees celsius, then cooled off and packed. It’s smooth and clear in appearance.

It’s safe for consumption, although some people feel the health benefits of honey have been eroded during the heating process.

2. Unpasteurized Honey

Unpasteurized honey is honey that has been subjected to minimal heat during its processing. The idea behind this is to increase the shelf-life of honey while retaining its nutritional value.

Unpasteurized honey retains the desirable levels of antioxidants and other nutrients such as beneficial minerals and enzymes found in honey.

3. Raw Honey

Some refer to it as natural honey. This is because it doesn’t go through any heating or processing. Instead, the honey is slightly filtered to remove the tangible impurities that may have been present in the hive.

The honey has its nutritional value intact as it’s direct from the honeycombs. So if you are looking for maximum benefits from honey, this is the type to go for. If you have a bee hive base, you may need very little filtering with your honey as it keeps it clean.

Do I need to pasteurize honey?

Let’s say you have been previously diagnosed with an ailment whose cause was high yeast levels. In that case, you have a problem with yeast, and you should go for pasteurized honey. And you are good to go. But if not, then no need for pasteurized honey. Instead, go for raw honey. 

That way, you are guaranteed to consume honey with all its nutritional benefits. Remember how granny would feed you a spoonful of raw honey, and the cold would be gone in no time? Those are some of the major benefits of raw honey.

It also has a healthy level of antioxidants critical for your gut. Raw honey also aids in faster healing of wounds and tissues, so strengthen your immune response by consuming enough honey.


Colorado State University. Honey.

California State University. Honey.

University of Georgia. New Process Makes Honey Safe For Infants.

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