Questions...with Aaron Mucciolo
one question this week. Between space constraints and the fact that
I’ve just come from four straight meetings and/or rehearsals,
that’s plenty for me. I’ll be back with a vengeance
(and hopefully a haircut…this mop is getting ridiculous) in
just seven short days.
And I didn’t even get to stay and gawk outside Safer Sex Night…
it true that honey is dangerous for infants to eat? If so, why?
Stenger, College sophomore
less than a year old have not yet developed an immune system, and
they are therefore far more susceptible to disease or infection.
One such threat is Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes
Spores of C. botulinum can be found in many places in nature, including
many raw agriculture products. About 5-10 percent of honey contains
at least trace amounts of these spores.
But why, you may ask, is honey such a taboo when contamination levels
are so low, and C. botulinum is found all over?
Well, doubtless some of the fervor has been whipped up over the
years by news reports and anxious parents. More concerning, however,
is that, while the heating of most foodstuffs during processing
renders the C. botulinum inert, processed honey is not necessarily
C. botulinum spores aren’t destroyed unless heated to around
250 degrees Fahrenheit. Honey can’t be heated that high because
it burns. Heating honey to 170 degrees is enough to kill off other
molds, yeasts, and bacteria (without changing the taste of the honey),
and that’s what honey processors do to make it safe for adults.
But it remains a hazard for infants.
I found some literature on a new process that may kill the spores
without damaging the honey, so it may be possible in the future
to feed honey to infants without fear. I also found some literature
trying to debunk this danger, citing the low contamination levels
and the fact that raw honey is actually healthier.
While it is true that heating honey does remove many of its healthy
qualities (by destroying natural enzymes that can help with immune
functions, among other things) that does not change the fact that
putting C. botulinum spores — should they be present —
into an infant with no immune system has an, oh, let me just estimate
it as VERY HIGH chance of causing infection.
wonder what this button does… ow, damnit. Well, now we know.
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