Association between honey consumption and infant botulism

Pharmacotherapy. 2002 Nov;22(11):1479-83. doi: 10.1592/phco.22.16.1479.33696.


Infant botulism, a disease that results in a blockade of voluntary motor and autonomic functions, was first recognized in the United States in the late 1970s. Since then, more than 1000 cases in this country have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Numerous studies have shown that the ingestion of honey is linked with infant botulism. In addition, honey samples across the United States have tested positive for Clostridium botulinum spores and toxins. Such substantial evidence led the CDC to recommend that honey not be given to infants younger than 12 months old. It is important that clinicians be familiar with this risk and should not recommend honey-containing products or supplements or the use of honey as a flavoring agent for infants in this age group.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Botulism / epidemiology
  • Botulism / etiology
  • Botulism / microbiology*
  • Clostridium botulinum*
  • Honey / adverse effects*
  • Honey / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn