The official guideline, which Health visitors follow without actually knowing the science behind in most cases, is that you shouldn’t give Honey to your baby or toddler.
Why is that you may ask? Honey is a perfectly good natural sweetener and can help the immune system prepare for local pollen, that is if you can source locally made honey.
The official guideline on Honey exists because of the possibility of botulinum poisoning, or in other words botulism !
Let’s have a look at this in little more detail:
To get this nasty poisoning from Honey you’d have to have put it in a dirty jar, you could have cross contaminated it and left it.
The problem with it is Honey has natural antibacterial properties, nobody who sells honey on a commercial scale would not first sterilize all equipment, including the jar for the honey. The easiest scenario I can think of here is if you have a beehive and you take a honeycomb and stick it in a jar now that could lead to botulism, but it is much more common with pickles. Not at least because the botulinum bacteria prefers an acidic breeding ground.
Although even the most celebrated ‘good for you’ honey, the Manuka honey can be the cause of this nasty poisoning if you kept it for years on end and went in with a dirty knife or dirty spoon on a regular basis.
To recap the chances of actually contracting botulism from Honey are very very slim. There must have been a case once and if something happens once, no matter how unlikely a recurrence might be there’ll be a guideline saying ‘giving your baby/toddler honey may carry the risk of botulism.’
They are absolutely correct there is a very very slim chance anyone could contract this nasty poisoning from a jar of honey.
Some people who don’t ever question what health visitors, nurses or doctors say could easily be frightened by this.
But then this is just my opinion and guidelines are there to as the name suggests ‘guide’ us, they aren’t absolutes. Having looked into it a bit more online there are many different opinions how the botulinum gets into the honey, at what quantity it becomes a health risk and how it can be avoided. Therefore it has to be left up to the individual. As said this is a Guideline, it is not an absolute.