Is Your Raw Honey Organic? Here’s How to Tell
Are you wondering why some raw kinds of honey are labelled ‘organic’, and some aren’t? If you thought pure honey is always made sustainably and with your best interest at heart, you might be disappointed to learn the truth. As advocates for the world’s strongest raw and organic honey, we’ve created a short guide to help you make the right decision!
Whilst “raw” and “organic” appear to be used interchangeably when it comes to honey; they aren’t the same at all.
Raw honey is taken straight from the honeycomb without processing or altering the final product in any way whatsoever.
Raw honey is often organic, but do not rely on this always being the case!
‘Organic’ is a term generally used to indicate that a product:
- Is free from man-made chemical contaminants,
- Has not been chemically altered,
- Is produced in a way that cares for the environment,
- And only contains ingredients of natural origin.
In other words: For a honey to be labelled ‘organic’, it must have been produced by bees that gather pollen from organically grown plants. Furthermore, this also means the bees themselves weren’t treated with chemical miticides or other chemicals.
Here’s where things get tricky: Since bees are capable of flying over 3km in their search for flowers to gather pollen from, all plants within this distance must also be certified organic.
As it is impossible to control where the bees pollinate from, you can imagine it is difficult for companies to ensure their honey is always 100% organic.
However, organic honey producers do everything in their power to increase the chances of each batch of honey being made from plants that haven’t been treated with chemicals.
What to look out for when buying organic honey?
Raw and organic honey are impossible to tell apart by the eye.
Both are naturally thick and opaque, particularly when you compare them to store-bought kinds of honey that are often thin and clear. Both may have a more cloudy yellow colour because they have not been heated or pasteurised to make the honey easier to package and avoid crystallisation.
To protect your rights as a consumer and make things easier when shopping for organic honey in Australia, all jars of organic honey are required to be labelled with:
- The company name
- The company address
- And a label certifying organic status
This should also include the certification number, date of harvest and floral source where known.
Organic Honey Certifications in Australia
Organic certification is a process that allows honey manufacturers such as Vallentine’s to be verified ‘organic’ by a credible, independent organisation.
This is necessary because a producer may claim that their products are organic. Still, it would be impossible for you as the consumer to verify such a claim without an independent auditor.
In Australia, these certifications can be issued by several organic certification organisations, such as:
- The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA)
- The Australian Certified Organic (ACO).
Having a Certified Australian Organic honey simply means that the beekeeper has invested in the organic certification program. In return, ACO auditors verify their site as ‘officially organic’ against a set of tight guidelines.
To be certified organic, a honey manufacturer must meet a rigorous requirements checklist and be regularly audited.
- They must not be located within a 5km radius of industrial agricultural production, meaning farms that don’t use organic methods.
- They must not use antibiotics, miticides or other synthetic veterinary treatments.
- During the honey extraction process, the temperature must be kept under 45 degrees celsius.
- Beehives must be made from organic materials and only exposed to organic environments and beekeeping techniques.
- Beekeepers must ensure that bees are pollinating from organic plants and that the diet of the honey bees themselves needs is balanced.
Particularly the latter is a standard most urban beekeepers struggle to adhere to. Golf courses and even local councils treat their gardens with pesticides. As a result,
very few beekeepers that produce near cities can be awarded a certification by the ACO.
Remember: Organic doesn’t equal raw
Keep in mind that organic honey doesn’t mean the honey is raw unless labelled as such. One doesn’t exclude the other. Some imported and local honeys may be labeled organic and undergo pasteurisation and heavy filtration.
To bypass this, you should look for both ‘raw’ and ‘certified organic’ labels.
|Vallentine’s honey is both organic and raw. Produced in the subtropical region of Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia, our honeys offer distinctive flavours and a long list of health benefits. Click here to learn more.|
Why Should You Buy Raw And Organic Honey?
Are you cautious about what you and your family are consuming? Buying honey that is labeled as ‘certified organic’, ensures the liquid gold doesn’t contain nasty chemicals and is safe for you and your loved ones.
In order to receive the maximum health benefits of honey, you’ll want to choose raw and organic honey.
Organic, raw honey, is honey in its most natural form. It contains high amounts of bee pollen, which have been shown to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Organic, raw honey also has high levels of important antioxidants and phenolic compounds such as flavonoids.
If you love honey bees, you’ll be happy to hear that organic honey is great for bee populations, too. Since organic beehives aren’t treated with chemicals and antibiotics, the bees are protected from Colony Collapse Disorder, a disease now commonly occurring in bee populations due to stress and environmental factors.
Considering that one in three bites of food we consume owes its propagation to bees, it’s fair to say that we should all take a greater interest in keeping the world’s bee populations happy and healthy. As such, choosing organic honey is also the environmentally friendlier option.
If you’d love to learn more about raw and organic honey visit the Vallentine’s Honey News section. For all of your questions concerning the world’s strongest honey, feel free to contact our friendly team, and we’ll be in touch!
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