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Why Is honey kosher?

Why Is honey kosher?


The rabbis of the Talmud discuss this question.1 The Mishnah states "that which comes from something which is not kosher is not kosher, and that which comes from something which is kosher is kosher." So, for example, the milk of a camel or the eggs of a vulture are just as unkosher as the camel and the vulture.

Why then, since bees are not kosher, is the honey of a bee permitted?

Honey consists of nectar, which bees gather, store and transport to their honeycombs. While in the bee, the nectar is broken down and transformed into honey by enzymes in the bee. But it is not actually digested by the bee. So the honey is not a product of the bee itself--as is milk.

One hundred percent pure, raw honey is kosher. When purchasing honey, be sure to check that it is certified as kosher by a reliable kosher agency, since non-kosher foods may have been processed on the same equipment, and non-kosher flavorings may have been added.

We have an interesting article on honey and its role in Judaism here: Honey. Let me know if this is helpful and if I can be of any further assistance.

Mrs. Rochel Chein


Bechorot 7b

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the Ask the Rabbi team.
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Discussion (24)
September 18, 2016
I have yet to see honey that does not come straight from the apiary (and I've lived all over the US).
Processed with other foods-- not.
February 10, 2015
Bee parts
This is discussed by the halachic authorities at length, and unfiltered honey with bee parts in it should be strained before eating. If the honey was heated, in kosher equipment, before filtering, it is still kosher since the bee parts are unsavory. (Code of Jewish Law, YD 81:8.) Additionally, according to some opinions, bee legs (and possibly wings) are considered inedible like bones, and do not cause the honey to become non-kosher.
Rochel Chein for
January 26, 2015
are dead bees kosher?
All honey has dead bees that come and go from it, they get filtered out before it's bottled.. soooo is it still tahor?
March 30, 2013
Is honey kosher
What did the ancients know about enzymes? Give me a break.
December 8, 2012
Kosher Honey
It appears to me that the enzymes are secreted by the bee. So, would this not then make honey not kosher? It is confusing.
September 16, 2011
Raw honey rocks! And kosher rules need an upgrade!
Refined sugars, which have been stripped of their companion nutrients and minerals, are NOT kosher. Why not ? It's been scientifically proven that sugars separated from their nutrients and minerals will require extra help from your body to process, which will drain you of energy and over-work the pancreas! It also raises blood pressure, blood sugar level, etc... Refined sugars = unhealthy = not kosher.

Anyways, an organic beekeeper would have to supply the bees with healthy kosher sugars to keep the bees just as healthy as you or I would want to be. The bees must also only be allowed to gather pollen from 100% organic kosher sources that use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The machines must be properly cleaned/sterilized for kosher standards. Etc...

I wish more things would be considered non kosher so that those evil businesses would lose profits and shut down. The current wheat/corn/soy fields must be cleared for healthier grains! The day shall come again!
also known as
bristol, tn
September 5, 2011
100% honey does not contain flavorings and it is illegal to add anything to it. Please read Rav Moshe's responsa on chalav stam, where he wrote that chalav Yisrael was for baalei nefesh and the danger of breaking the law was enough to protect us from possible adulteration. Rochel, I assume you have never worked in an apiary, I have. Honey processing equipment is very specialized and is not normally used for treif foods. Even if it was, it is washed out because any trace of a foreign substance can affect honey. Several of the reliable US hashgachas have gone so far as to post on their websites that honey does not need a hechsher.
We know that Yonatan ate honey from the field (without a hechsher) as did Samson. In fact, the word used for honey extraction in modern Hebrew (Ridiya) is the same word that is used in Tanach, both in the case of Yonatan and Samson.

The issue of Pesach is not because of corn syrup (which is used to feed the hives in the winter), it is due to other reasons.
September 4, 2011
Re: Honey
One hundred percent pure, raw honey is kosher. However, honey often contains flavorings that may contain non-kosher ingredients, and the honey may be heated before bottling, on equipment also used to process non-kosher foods. Certification by a reliable kosher agency is recommended unless one is certain that the honey is pure and unprocessed.

Kosher for Passover certification is also important, as companies have been found to dilute honey with corn syrup, which Ashkenazi Jews do not eat on Passover. See Is Honey Kosher for Passover .
Rochel Chein, author
September 3, 2011
Evelyn, honey does not require a kosher certification, but honey to be used for Pesach does. Gloves that workers use can have powder on them, which can be made from foods that are not kosher for passover. Bottling lines used for jams can also need special passover cleaning. But as far as the rest of the year, 100% pure honey does not require a certification.
September 2, 2011
If a company only produces honey, jams & honey wax candles, how could their plain honey be considered unkosher. Here in the UK there are a couple of jam companies that produce all sorts of jams, honey etc, & they get a hechsha pessach. Doesn't the kosher label just come along when a company is prepared to pay for it. Honey is the only product that the human being is unable to create - that must say something about how underwhelming human beings really are, and yet there is a requirement that honey must still have a kosher sticker. Money for old rope I think! Comments appreciated.
Evelyn, London
London,, UK