Microbiology and foodborne pathogens in honey

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;57(9):1852-1862. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1029041.


Honey has been considered a relatively safe foodstuff due to its compositional properties, with infant botulism caused by Clostridium botulinum being the most prominent health risk associated with it. Our review is focused on the honey microflora along the food chain and evaluates the pathogenic potential of those microorganisms found in honey. This product may contain a great variety of bacteria and, particularly, fungi that eventually entered the food chain at an early stage (e.g., via pollen). For many of these microorganisms, opportunistic infections in humans have been recorded (e.g., infections by Staphylococcus spp., Citrobacter spp., Escherichia coli, Hafnia alvei, Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp., Trichoderma spp., Chaetomium spp.), although direct infections via honey were not registered.

Keywords: Food safety; fungi; microbiological criteria; opportunistic pathogens; stramenopiles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food Technology
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology*
  • Honey / microbiology*
  • Humans