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 National Honey Board and National 

Association of Pediatric Nurse 

Practitioners Partner to 

Promote Honey Education 

Recent Research Reveals Confusion About Honey Use With Young Children  

Firestone, Colo.–  July 28, 2011– The National Honey Board (NHB) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).  Together, the organizations will develop a honey education program, based on recent research findings that uncovered widespread confusion surrounding the age when honey can be introduced to young children.  Focused on health professionals who deal directly with parents of young children, education efforts will dispel honey misconceptions, explain the benefits of honey and remind parents that honey can be given to children older than one year of age. 

 “It’s widely known that honey shouldn’t be fed to infants, but most people don’t know why or at what age it can be introduced,” said Cheri Barber, DNP, RN, CRNP, President of NAPNAP.  “The truth is that honey can be introduced to a child at one year of age.  It’s important that health care professionals and families with young children understand the facts about honey.”

Barber added that honey has been used for centuries to help soothe coughs, and with the recommended removal of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DM), parents are turning to effective natural remedies like honey. 

The National Honey Board confirmed earlier this year through focus groups and a nationally fielded online survey that there is a need for honey education.  Research* revealed that moms are confused about when to feed honey to their children, citing reasons for avoidance like allergens, bacteria and the like. But the educational program of NHB and NAPNAP would set the record straight:

Because infants’ gastrointestinal systems are immature and thus susceptible to contracting infant botulism if spores are present, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Department of Public Health and other health associations recommend that certain foods not be fed to infants under one year of age, including honey.  After 12 months of age, honey may be introduced to a child’s diet. Botulinum spores occur in nature, but honey is one of the potential dietary sources for infant botulism.

 The research showed that moms are nearly as likely to think honey is a potential food allergen as they are to identify its association with bacterial illness (36% avoid feeding infants honey because they think  it’s an allergen, 39% avoid honey due to its association with bacterial illness). Only one percent of moms chose “risk of botulism” as a reason to avoid feeding honey to infants. However, when provided the specific risk of “baby may get infant botulism,” this number jumped to 43%.

 According to the research, more than half of moms (57%) erroneously think children should be 2 years or older before feeding them honey. 

The consumer research also showed that 82% of moms would be more likely to feed honey to their children close to their first birthday if they learned they could introduce it from one of their top trusted sources, especially if they receive an educational handout from their pediatric healthcare provider’s office.  

Overall, moms expressed excitement about rediscovering honey and its uses as a culinary ingredient and as a natural cough remedy, and want to learn more about honey. 

“Our study showed that moms trust pediatricians and nurse practitioners the most to provide correct information about the age at which children can eat honey,” said Catherine Barry, director of marketing for the National Honey Board. “This finding confirms that we have the ideal partnership with NAPNAP for this public information campaign. Our efforts will begin this August.” 

Research Methodology 

*The National Honey Board research was conducted by the Ketchum Global Research Network and consisted of three focus groups among moms (two in Denver and one in Chicago in January 2011), three focus groups among health care professionals (one in Chicago and two at the annual NAPNAP conference in Baltimore, March 25, 2011). Directional findings from the focus groups helped form questions that were given in an online nationwide survey of 500 moms with children ages 5 and younger. The survey sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. 

The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey. The National Honey Board is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the professional organization for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and other advanced practice nurses who care for children and is committed to improving the health care of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. An association of nearly 7,500 health care providers throughout the United States, NAPNAP has 48 Chapters nationwide. For more information, call 856/857-9700 or visit NAPNAP's Website at www.napnap.org.