Honey should never be given to a child under the age of 12 months. Infant botulism, which was first recognized in 1976, is a toxic intestinal infection caused by Clostridium botulinum spores, that produce botulinum toxin leading to botulism poisoning. The infection can occur in early infancy, exactly why is still uncertain but possibly because the microflora of the infant’s intestines are still immature.
Although infant botulism is incredibly rare (only 49 cases have been observed in Europe since 1976) and many cases not being honey related, it is a serious illness that can cause muscle weakness and breathing problems requiring hospital treatment. The Clostridium botulinum spores occur naturally in the environment in soil and dust and they are usually harmless to adults and children over 1 year old.
Clostridium botulinum spores have been detected in honey sold in the United States (up to 10% of the tested samples), Japan (8.5%), Brazil (7.5%) and Italy (6.5%)