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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 930849, 9 pages
Review Article

Antibiotic, Pesticide, and Microbial Contaminants of Honey: Human Health Hazards

1Waili Foundation for Science, Queens, NY 11418, USA
2Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh 11543, Saudi Arabia

Received 22 July 2012; Accepted 28 August 2012

Academic Editors: N. Ercal, A. Scozzafava, D. X. Tan, and L. A. Videla

Copyright © 2012 Noori Al-Waili et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Agricultural contamination with pesticides and antibiotics is a challenging problem that needs to be fully addressed. Bee products, such as honey, are widely consumed as food and medicine and their contamination may carry serious health hazards. Honey and other bee products are polluted by pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria and radioactive materials. Pesticide residues cause genetic mutations and cellular degradation and presence of antibiotics might increase resistant human or animal's pathogens. Many cases of infant botulisms have been attributed to contaminated honey. Honey may be very toxic when produced from certain plants. Ingestion of honey without knowing its source and safety might be problematic. Honey should be labeled to explore its origin, composition, and clear statement that it is free from contaminants. Honey that is not subjected for analysis and sterilization should not be used in infants, and should not be applied to wounds or used for medicinal purposes. This article reviews the extent and health impact of honey contamination and stresses on the introduction of a strict monitoring system and validation of acceptable minimal concentrations of pollutants or identifying maximum residue limits for bee products, in particular, honey.