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Thread: USDA Organic

  1. #1
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    Default USDA Organic

    So I am looking at all the honey in the store...as I usually do to see the different types, marketing labels, etc and one is marked USDA Organic certified. Out of all the honey, only one has the little USDA Organic symbol. So I pick it up to see where the farm is here in the states that is producing this organic honey and in bold letters on the back.... PRODUCT OF BRAZIL!!!!!

    Are you friggin kidding me. Of all the brands, the only organic one is from Brazil?? And...having lived down in South America for numerous years I doubt the authenticity of a product coming from South America that is organic by our standards. I visited numerous USAID sponsored "organic" farms in Peru, Ecuador, Chile and other countries and almost without fail found evidence of extensive use of chemicals including some that are against the law to use here in the US.

    So now I am wondering what standards are utilized to receive the USDA organic certification and what checks are made to ensure that it continues to be. Anyway...my vent for the day.

  2. #2
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    Brazil is a large producer of organic honey. Not sure of the certification criteria but it is acceptable to Europe and I believe they have pretty high standards. I am surprised, with our lower dollar and the European demand, that any of that honey got onto our shelves.
    Sheri

  3. #3
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    Default

    to be certified organic most certification houses require a beekeeper identify a 3-5 mile radius around the bee yard and document the land and chemical use.

    that pretty much rules out most of the lower 48 states for certified organic honey.

    i have a summer intern student from Brazil who worked for a large honey producer and packer in Brazil. The countries standards on cleanliness in honey houses is so high, i doubt even 1% of the USA beekeepers could even come close. Since its all africanized bees they hardly do any management in the sense of how we keep bees here. They don't make splits or raise/buy queens just set out empty equipment or pick up swarms.

    So no inputs either into the hive, no antibiotics or miticides since AHB has no issue with mites. So the honey is much much cleaner then the average honey bear from Colorado or anywhere in the USA. Plus they do have large areas of clean land free from agriculture.

    So your rant is considerably off base. Local honey up here in Wisconsin or MN outsells organic 1000:1. The point is organic honey is irrelavent in the market place.

    The idea that organic certifcation is bogus is also uninformed. Any product coming into this country with the green seal is audited by certification houses, many of them with very good histories and ethics.

  4. #4
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    I didn't say the certification was bogus, I was questioning the standards in which they are obtained and maintained. I seriously doubt that anyone from the USDA goes to Brazil to inspect their farms. Spending more then five years in South American Embassies and working with USAID and other USGOV groups I never saw one rep from the USDA visit any of the local farms or agriculture projects.

    Also, there are some differences in standards. From World Market information of Feb. of this year. "The European Union banned Brazilian honey over 2 years ago, not because of quality issues, but because of a failure between the EU and Brazil to agree on testing procedures and standards."

    It seems that the EU doesn't agree with you on the "High" standards practiced in Brazil.

  5. #5
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    i purchased a 50# bag of buckwheat seed a while back from a co-op. i use it for salad greens so could afford and feel it is appropriate to use as wholesome a product as possible. not only was it usda organic the certifier was ccof (california cert. organic farmers).
    it was a product of china.
    when you puchase it at the bins all you see is usda and ccof. i can't help but feel that many of the folks wouldn't feel too warm and fuzzy about their sticks and berries being a product of china i know i'm not.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  6. #6
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    Alpha, I am pretty sure Brazil and The EU recently ( a few months back?) agreed on standards, I will try to find links to that info. This agreement was cited as another reason for the rise in honey prices here, ie, the opening of Europe to Brazilian honey.
    Out of curiousity, where in SA were you? Is your experience from Brazil? I would assume the various countries in that continent use different standards just as the different countries in NA do.
    Sheri

  7. #7
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    Sheri - Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay. No I haven't worked in Brazil but I found little difference in the way agriculture was run in these other countries most of which neighbor with Brazil.

    Everything I have read says the market to the EU is GOING to open, but so far I can't find anything stating that exports of Brazilian honey have resumed to the EU. Not that I am an exhaustive source finder, it may have happened, I just can't verify it.

  8. #8
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    Default just thoughts

    I think the main issue here is that the bees would have a wide range to forage without being in contact with possible contaminants that would 'compromise' an organic designation [compared to NA.]

    It would be better to have an alternative/another source of income for the people, rather than cutting down the rain forests of Brazil

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Sheri -Everything I have read says the market to the EU is GOING to open, but so far I can't find anything stating that exports of Brazilian honey have resumed to the EU. I just can't verify it.
    I found the statement I was referring to and you are quite right, it doesn't look like they have resumed, at least as of this report, posted by Irwin Harlton in the "honey prices going up" thread, post 112. on May 28. http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...214127&page=12
    Bold print added by me.

    MAY 15, 2008 WESTERN STATES HONEY PACKERS AND DEALERS ASSOCIATION
    "Brazil remains the major supplier of organic honey for the international market. Brazil also intends to expand honey production, as it has expanded beef production. But Brazil is lured to the large European market whose currency is strong and where the demand for organic foods is even stronger than in the U.S.A. ...snip...Exports to Europe have not resumed yet. When they do, the impact on availability and prices for both organic and conventional grades of honey may be substantial."

    Oldbee, that is a good point!
    Sheri

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