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Food Unwrapped shows viewers behind the scenes of several production lines to find out the secrets behind Britain’s favourite food. On tonight’s episode of Food Unwrapped on Channel 4, viewers found out why mums should never give honey to babies under 12 months.
Honey tastes delicious, makes breakfast and snacks sweeter and has many health benefits, such as improved heart health, wound healing, and blood antioxidant.
No doubt why the nectar from bees is loved by many.
However, all the honey jars warn against feeding it to babies.
The label reads honey “is unsuitable for babies under 12 months.”
But why is that?
Presenter Kate Quilton tries calling many customer service helplines to get an answer but everyone seems surprised by the fact babies should avoid honey.
She then decides to meet doctor Gauri Godbole from Public Health England to solve the mystery.
The doctor explained: “Honey is a natural product and can be contaminated with spores of bacteria which are called Clostridium botulinum.
“It can cause dangerous problems like botulism in infants.”
Infant botulism is “the one the mothers are specifically worried about.”
“It can live in the gut of the infant below 12 months of age and can produce a very powerful toxin,” the doctor explained.
“It would paralyse all the muscles of the baby.
“So it can be a very dangerous disorder,” the doctor said.
She explained a very powerful antidote exists to stop the disorder but it only works if administered in time.
If not, it could be lethal.
But how do the spores which babies can’t ingest get to honey?
The doctor explained these spores are found everywhere but the issue with honey is its high content as a lot of dangerous spores are carried by honeybees.
The problem with babies is that they don’t have enough bacteria to combat the spores when they get to their gut.
After 12 months of age, the healthy bacteria starts growing in the gut of the baby so they are protected against the lethal effects of honey.
Honey is “perfectly safe” over 12 months of age, explained the doctor, and Kate clarified that these cases are “possible but very rare.”
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