Is Honey Vegan?

How and why to avoid honey

Honey is produced by bees, who gather nectar from flowers, partially digest it, and then regurgitate it once back in their hives for storage in honeycombs. Since honey is a bee product, and bees are animals, it is by definition not vegan. Here’s a nuanced article about how the ethical issues related to honey fit into the broader concept of vegan living.

Several companies make vegan honey alternatives:

Rather than buy a product that mimics the flavors of honey you may wish to simply buy maple syrup, as it matches honey’s sweetness while offering (subjectively, anyway) a more interesting flavor. Agave syrup is another good substitute, although it’s sweeter than honey and its extremely high fructose content may be something you wish to avoid.

Reasons to Avoid Honey:

  • During honey harvesting, some bees are inevitably crushed or injured.
  • Beekeepers often respond to disease outbreaks by burning their hives—killing all bees inside.
  • Most honey from large-scale producers comes from hives treated with antibiotics.
  • It’s a raw deal to the bees to steal their honey and replace it with high fructose corn syrup, which is what most commercial beekeepers do.
  • You may not be eating what you think you’re eating; fraud and mislabeling is rampant in the worldwide honey industry.