There is a risk of infant botulism, a very serious disease affecting the nervous system, when honey is consumed before age 1. Honey and other raw agricultural products may contain bacterial spores from Clostridium botulinum. These spores are widely distributed in nature. They can be found in soil, dust, the air or raw agricultural products. After ingestion, C. botulinum spores can germinate, grow and produce toxin in the lower bowel of some infants less than 1 year of age. The reason this happens is because infants’ intestinal microflora is still underdeveloped. Children and adults with normal intestinal microflora are able to ingest C. botulinum spores without harm.
The National Honey Board, along with other health organizations, recommends that honey not be fed to infants less a year old. Although our honey undergoes extensive safety and quality testing, it does not test for the spores that cause infant botulism.