Honey is primarily sugar; proteins which may cause allergy have not yet been identified.
An allergic reaction to honey is most likely to be from what else may be within the honey, trace contaminants of:
- Pollen particles
- Antibiotics and herbicides
- Bee and hive remnants
Honey which contains pollen from the plant family Compositae (which includes sunflower and ragweed) is more likely to cause allergic symptoms.
Honey is a high FODMAP food. FODMAP
stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
Honey is a food high in salicylates
. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
There is no information on syndromes associated with honey allergy.
The link between bee sting allergy and honey allergy is weak. Bee venom is made of several components which work in conjunction with each other; these can be partially lost in the honey making process and do not have the same effect when ingested.
Bee Facts - British Beekeepers Association
Allergen Encyclopedia - Honey
Dermnet NZ - Contact allergy to propolis
Healthline - Allergic to Honey
Healthline - FODMAP Foods
ATP Science - Salicylate Foods
Articles and Journals
Reported Cases and Diagnostics of Occupational Insect Allergy: A Systematic Review, 2023
Anaphylaxis Reaction Caused by Honey-Based Enema -A Case Report, 2022
Honey-induced anaphylaxis in an adult, 2022
A Case of Anaphylaxis Caused by Major Royal Jelly Protein 3 of Royal Jelly and Its Cross-Reactivity with Honeycomb, 2021
A rare case of multiple severe anaphylaxis caused by thyme, black pepper, wasp and honey, 2019
Ragweed components in honey, 2017
Anaphylaxis caused by honey: a case report, 2017
Contamination of honey by the herbicide asulam and its antibacterial active metabolite sulfanilamide, 2004
Whole bee for Diagnosis of Honey Allergy, 2002
Immunochemical screening for antimicrobial drug residues in commercial honey, 1998
Venom allergy, 1998
Honey allergy is rare in patients sensitive to pollens, 1995
Allergy to honey: relation to pollen and honey bee allergy, 1992
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.