A couple of years ago, I was at a Farmers Market and a honey seller told me that the only organic honey was in Hawaii. Due to the bees not flying everyplace, better control… But I keep seeing USDA certified organic honey on the shelves, so finally decided to look into organic honey which was an Eco Opener!
The three musts of organic beekeeping:
- Take place in an unpolluted area- bees travel 2.5 miles, so bee hives should be surrounded by either organic farms or pristine areas. Many people consider organic honey almost impossible due to that
- Use natural materials, methods and feed- no drugged water and food.
- Avoid the use of conventional veterinary medicine and pesticides.
- The problem is bees travel, so they might be picking up pesticides and pollutants on the way back to the hive base. That includes water, which bees drink and then comes back to the hive.
- The USA is so built up and uses industrial pollutants, who is going to track honey bees?
- Research from US Agriculture suggests that the average hive has traces of 5 pesticides.
- Non-organic beekeepers use antibiotics to dose their bees to keep them from getting sick
- Non-organic beekeepers routinely use sulfa compounds and antibiotics to control bee diseases, carbolic acid to remove honey from the hive and calcium cyanide to kill colonies before extracting the honey
- USDA Organic’ seal does not ensure that the honey was produced in the U.S., it does not certify that the honey is 100% organic. ‘USDA Organic’ honey is defined as 95% organic. In other words, there are really NO standards for US certified organic honey. From the USDA Rules and Regulations, “…honey does not require official inspection in order to carry official USDA grade marks and since there are no existing programs that require the official inspection and certification of honey
After doing much reading on organic honey, here are the other conclusions I came up with:
- Certification of country of origin is iffy, and dependent on the honesty of the producer. So unless you are buying your honey from the local farmers market and talking to the bee keeper, you can not be sure of where it is grown.
- FDA does not have great follow up on the certification of organic honey. Greenbeewashing seems to be rampant here. (This is my conclusion)
- The only state that seems to have control on organic honey is Florida.
- I will not trust any labeling with any honey and start to purchase honey at local farmers markets. Buying local is probably the most eco friendly honey I can do!
- There are more than 20,000 species of wild bees
- Some of the earliest evidence of gathering honey from wild colonies is from rock paintings, dating to around 13,000 BCE.
- Until 2010, beekeeping was banned in New York City and punishable with a $2,000 fine. Urban beekeeping is commonly practiced in areas that have a pesticide ban. This includes Paris, as well as 156 municipalities in Canada and 3 of 10 Canadian provinces. Beekeeping was illegal in Vancouver until 2003, for example, but by 2010 there were bees on the roof of Vancouver City Hall.
- In 1950, there were 500,000 beekeepers in the U.S. Today there are less than 1,600.
- In 2007 just before the almond pollination, 20 billion bees mysteriously disappeared; many beekeepers went bankrupt
- Seattle PI On Honey Laundering
- Benefits Of Organic Honey
- World of Honey- Definition of Organic Honey
- Give Bees A Chance
- Honey Traveler
- Ban on Imports of Chinese Honey: BBC reported the ban on imports of Chinese honey in 2002.
- EU lifts ban on Chinese Honey: BBC reported the lifting of ban on imports of Chinese honey in 2004.
- Detection of Antibiotics in Honey: Food Solutions China describes various methods for detection of antibiotics in honey.
- Pesticides in Honey: NSW, Australia provides ways of reducing pesticide contamination of honey bee