Is All Honey Kosher?
Shailah of the Week by Rabbi Zvi Nussbaum
Rabbinic Coordinator, Kosher Hotline Administrator for the Orthodox Union
Is all honey kosher? It depends. Nowadays, most honey sold commercially is from bees and presumed kosher. Nevertheless, it must be pure honey without any accompanying names.
Since bees and presumably other creatures do not themselves produce the honey but rather transport from plants to hives, it is not a question as to whether the creature is kosher. It is in essence plant-based and should have kosher certification to assure that it is indeed pure.
One must be particularly careful with imported honey to make sure that it is indeed honeybee. Other types of honey, like Melipona or Honeydew, must have a hechsher.
Sometimes a jar of plain honey will have a description on the label that describes it as being a blend of many different flowers, including forest honey. In this case, the company is merely attesting to the presence of forest honey, which is tested for by a laboratory. In this case, the OU permits the honey due to a variety of sefeikot (doubts). Therefore, the policy of the OU is to certify plain honey that mentions the presence of forest honey, but would not certify honey that is pure forest honey.