Is organic honey the same as raw honey?
And which one is better for you?
Honey is given the label ‘organic’ when the flowers the bees collect nectar from haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. Simple, right?
It is, as long as the beekeepers control where the bees go.
But how can we keep tabs on these flying friends?
So is there such a thing as organic honey? And what do Australian food regulations say about this classification?
What is raw honey?
Let’s start by exploring what raw honey is. If you read our previous post, ‘What is Raw Honey?’, you’ll know it’s one of the most valued and appreciated natural products used by human beings since ancient times.
It’s what we ate before the big industries began tampering with our food and adding processes to extend its shelf life.
Saleview Estate’s Raw Honey is unpasteurised, which means it’s not heated above 72 degrees Celsius. We lightly and lovingly strain our honey just enough to remove large wax chunks and propolis using a 600- and 400-micron gauze wire strainer.
While raw honey may crystallise a lot faster than store-bought honey (especially during winter), it’s the purest form of honey you can get. And it’s full of the many vital phytonutrients your body needs.
When you buy pasteurised (or ‘not raw’) honey, the nutrients have likely been altered when put through the process of heating and filtering commercial companies use.
Filtered honey usually looks better to the untrained eye because the filtering process removes most of the pollen and wax solids.
Commercial honey producing companies tend to filter and pasteurise their honey to slow down crystallisation so the product looks nicer and lasts longer on the shelf.
Now that we know about raw honey, let’s look at organic honey.
What is organic produce?
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC),
if you want to claim your product is organic it needs to be substantiated through well-documented processes. And the level of substantiation for such claims should reflect a seed-to-supermarket approach.
In Australia, consumers generally expect products such as honey that are claimed to be organic not to have been cultivated with synthetic fertilisers or herbicides.
Similarly, organically grown imported products that have been chemically treated as part of the importation and quarantine process can’t be considered organic.
Can honey be truly organic?
It’s impossible to know exactly where bees go to source their feed. They
usually fly up to 5km to look for flowers that are producing enough nectar for harvesting. They can fly up to 8km if they need to.
In places such as Africa, the Afrikanised bees can fly up to 125km to look for a floral source. That means the distance bees fly is relative to their needs.
So it’s really difficult to know exactly where they go. A quality assurance inspector would need to be certain that all the flowers in a 3–8 km radius around the beehive are indeed organic.
And if it’s difficult to measure which plants they’re feeding on, how can farmers truly know their honey isn’t mixed with pesticides from neighbouring agricultural lands?
That’s why using organic to describe honey is a tricky thing to measure.
Our Saleview Estate Honey is labelled raw not organic
Because we can’t put a net over our bees to keep them within our
seven-acre property, we don’t claim the organic label. Some farmers will market their honey as being organic. They may not necessarily be liars. They may just be extremely hopeful and confident about knowing where their bees are going.
But the only way to really guarantee and control which flowers the bees visit is to screen everything in like they do at butterfly sanctuaries so they don’t fly past their invisible leash.
Saleview Estate Raw Honey is optimal honey for health
We can’t really say if organic honey is better than raw honey. But our raw
honey does have all the vital nutrients your body needs. And a taste that is truly delicious.
Over to you
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