Can bacteria survive in honey?

No honey for babies

Whether for sweetening tea, as a spread or for desserts - honey and maple syrup are popular in the kitchen. However, the two sweeteners are not recommended for infants under one year old and can even be dangerous. The professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ) warns of this.

Bacterial hazard

Honey and maple syrup can contain Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which cause food poisoning called botulism. Although this form of poisoning is rare in Germany, it is dangerous due to the high mortality rate. The pathogens cause severe muscle paralysis and paralyze breathing.

The germ poses a particular danger to infants. The bacteria settle in their intestines and can germinate. Babies with infant botulism have weak muscles and can no longer hold their heads. Rattles and snoring noises indicate difficulty breathing. Swallowing and sucking are difficult because the reflexes are weak and more saliva runs out of the mouth. Infected children must immediately receive intensive medical treatment.

Pay attention to hygiene

Temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius render the bacterium harmless. Only foods in which the germ multiplied and spores formed due to poor hygiene are harmful for children and adults. Gases are formed in the process. Therefore, canned food with dents should be thrown away to be on the safe side. Caution should also be exercised with self-made things. Multiple heating kills any germinated spores. The bacteria do not need oxygen and therefore survive in vacuum-packed foods. In order to prevent the formation of spores, the prescribed cooling must be observed.


06/26/2013 | Katrin Stegherr