Apparently, even honeybees get the sniffles from time to time. Antibiotics are routinely used by beekeepers to handle infectious situations and also to stimulate growth. As if we need cow-sized bees flying around! In all seriousness, antibiotic limits in honey are not as closely regulated as other food products, particularly troublesome considering that the honey has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes, like treating seasonal allergies and stomach ulcers. Rampant contamination by pesticides, heavy metals and even radioactive materials are also of great concern to honey purists [source: Al-Wali et al.].
In a very Catch-22 twist, honey is also a very well-known natural antibiotic, thanks to a particular protein that bees add to the mix, called defensin-1. The protein is so powerful that it is currently being studied for potential use as a burn and/or skin infection treatment and to counteract the effects of the dreaded MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) [sources: Kwakman et al., Science Daily].