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  1. #1
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    Default Organic Honey is Certified?

    The supplier of organic bee products has responded to my comments about organic honey and I thought the bolded part was interesting as I have not found this information to be true and wondered if other beeks have.


    The bees fly 3-5 miles from the hive to find flowers, plants, trees to pollinate off of so with organic sourced honey the area 5 miles beyond the hive in every direction has to be certified organic in addition to no chemicals, pesticides, etc being used on or near the hive. It is very expensive to have this kind of certified hive so it is rare that someone with the property in the US would go through the process of having it certified, but again it is possible you just donít see it that often. There is a standard for Organic Honey depending on who you get it certified with. All our honey and beeswax (from all over the world) is certified by QAI and if we receive honey that is in any way adulterated it is refused and sent back. We do several tests to insure the quality and purity of these products and we donít tolerate anything less than our standards.

    "With no laws to certify, regulate, and enforce organic honey in the US, in reality anyone can claim anything they like." This is not true. The USDA NOP does have laws to certify, regulate, and enforce organic honey production in the US. If it were easy, there would be more honey producers in the lower 48 making organic claims.
    ~Michelle

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    This corresponds to what I had heard. And it makes
    sense. With a foraging radius fairly large it is indeed
    very hard to insure your bees aren't bringing in some
    affected nectar/pollen source.

    Especially now that GMO alfalfa has been OK'd. Another
    bone tossed to Monsanto. This will make certification
    even harder.s

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Aren't GMO's organic.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    GMO's "organic?" That was a joke... right?!
    ~Michelle

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Here's a recent and interesting article:
    http://livingmaxwell.com/organic-honey-certified
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Thanks Omie, a very interesting read! This topic really can make ones head spin.
    ~Michelle

  7. #7
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    What constitutes "organic" is now decided by our government. If you follow their rules, you can be certified "organic." But I don't necessarily agree with these rules nor do I believe the government really knows what really constitutes organic. I don't think I really know either. So our government decides for us.

    Now I question who decides and what do they really know about beekeeping? What do they know about organic?

    In my paranoid, conspiratorial opinion, I think the government tried to make it impossible for anyone to legitimately use the term, "organic."

    Enforcement is another slough of despond. So I show three years of records. Who can verify those details? Who keeps on eye on me after I'm certified?

    I've totally lost faith in Washington, D.C.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  8. #8
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    Malabar, FL
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    I have had many people ask me about organic honey,,I discuss with them all the previously posted material.....I agree with Grant....our government is trying to regulate something they know nothing about....I just sell honey....its easier
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    But don't you find that most people don't really want to know the whats and whys of almost any situation? I imagine you keep your explanation short?

    "Is this honey organic?"
    "Organic doesn't mean what it used to. This honey is produced to be pure and clean and ready for you to eat."
    "Yes, but is it Raw?"
    "Yes."

    But that's another discussion. Let's get back to "PURE", as a Honey Standard.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Soap Pixie View Post
    GMO's "organic?" That was a joke... right?!
    I guess, in my own cynical way, I'm poking fun at the concepts used here and like others think definitions and enforcement make for meaningless terminology. When I was a student organic meant carbon based. Lots of pesticides are carbon based. GMO crops are also carbon based. Plus, being a genetic engineer I think most people fear GMO's for the wrong reasons. Don't get me wrong, I personally think pesticide free sustainable agriculture is the way to go, but I am a bit leery of some of the arguments and terminology used.
    As an example - I have people that ask if I heat my honey. I say yes, up to about 100F. Some people walk away even after you tell them that it is for a short time to make the honey flow better and besides the hive temp is nearly 100F. They then proceed to tell you that heating kills enzymes. By this point I let them walk away rather than get in an argument (if they have a hardened position). I want to ask specifically which enzyme they are worried about losing. I am certain that they are clueless. Then I would like to ask if that enzyme will ever get past our stomach acids and proteases. And by the way isn't our body temperature near 100F? But then I have to remind myself that people have been led to believe that they need my local honey for allergies and have no clue about that either.
    Likewise, I think the organic movement is mostly emotive but perhaps that is OK if it has a positive outcome. I think the problem with us human beings is that we tend to believe the information on the surface and are too busy and/or too lazy to ask nuanced questions. The surface picture usually turns out to be wrong or at least very incomplete with the messy underbelly being mostly a set of contradictions. If I am busy or lazy, I simply assume that we have a very incomplete picture and therefore am immune to the hyperbole. And on top of that, well meaning rules and regulations are usually ignored or manipulated down to the last dollar of profit. Like the cute little mom and pop labels on all that free range chicken. Its all great until you find out that the big mega chicken farm found a neat little marketing approach to sell their 59 day chickens where the barn door is left open and are therefore free range. Now the reality is that the mom and pop name is meant to convey something entirely different from the mega chicken farm. Free range implies that the chickens are running around outside eating natures best but the reality is that the chickens could theoretically leave the over crowded and diseased chicken coop and go through that open door, but the farmers know that the birds won't leave if they are acclimated to the indoors before the door is open. So what is free range and what is organic and what is raw? The only food that I have any confidence in comes from my garden and my hives. Since we are not a nation of moral people I will continue to be guarded.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Yes big gubermant....

    This thread belongs in tailgater...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    But that's another discussion. Let's get back to "PURE", as a Honey Standard.
    Not being argumentative, I'd like to hear what you define as "Pure Honey". To me, "Pure Honey" simply means the honey is not mixed with anything else like corn syrup, sugar syrup- that it's 'all honey' in the container. Like if I saw a container labeled "Pure Olive Oil", I'd just assume it meant it was not a mix of olive oil, peanut oil, and other oils- that it was ALL olive oil in the bottle. Isn't that what the law requires concerning labeling a product as 'Pure' anything? (or am I mistaken?) I wouldn't be thinking in terms of pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics, etc. "Pure Cane Sugar" cannot contain any beet sugar mixed in. Thus, as long as it contained nothing but actual honey, it could be labeled Pure Honey even if it had pesticide residues and medications in it (as long as they did not exceed health limit standards).
    Am I mistaken about this?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Nope. Not at all. Everything in a jar of Pure Honey is honey. Which, to my mind, is sufficient. But, I'm sure, that's just me.

    Omie, We were arguing? I missed it, if we were.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    HVH

    I don't think fearing GMO's due to the lack of safety testing is fearing them for the wrong reason. In fact, I think citizen concern over Pusztai's test results and the fact he was fired after he released the data showing the damaging affects GMO's had on rats is something to be extremely concerned about. As for government, on one hand people claim to be "anti government" or wish they'd spend less time meddling in our business yet they are ok with government meddling with our food. Thanks to government, Monsanto has been given the power to step all over the little people, but that is another topic altogether along with pesticide free agriculture. We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    "I think the problem with us human beings is that we tend to believe the information on the surface and are too busy and/or too lazy to ask nuanced questions."

    I absolutely agree! People spend too much time listening to then media tell them what is good and bad for them and no one really wants to know the facts, which, as far as hive products are concerned, puts beekeepers in a difficult situation.

    I've only been at this a year but beekeeping, hives and honey is much like everything else when it comes to how you define its purity, it all depends on who you are asking. Organic is just the buzz word now. Although I agree organic is healthier, most people can't even identify why that is. Organic serves the livestock and the environment better than it serves the people IMO. Which isn't a bad thing, just an observation.

    I don't trust the government and I question their development of an organic standard. but since I plan on selling honey some day I do get concerned over how the general population defines "organic" and "natural" and in my experience people interpret organic honey as being free of synthetic toxins which I personally believe is impossible in todays environment. People shouldn't be allowed to manipulate consumers with labeling but we don't know what we are manipulating if we don't know what people's interpretations are.

    Pure - Natural - Organic... all mean different things to me based on my knowledge but those three words signify important things to the general public.

    Most people don't even know bees get diseases and therefore, don't realize chemical treatments are used but if they did I am sure those three words would mean something different.
    ~Michelle

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Soap Pixie View Post
    People spend too much time listening to the media tell them what is good and bad for them and no one really wants to know the facts, which, as far as hive products are concerned, puts beekeepers in a difficult situation.
    We all put our faith in someone's knowledge, whether that be "the Media" or Authors of bee books. I don't know very many people who learned everything they know about anything w/out relying on someone else telling them "the Facts". We're all in the same boat, as far as I can see. I see nothing wrong w/ bweing skeptical and questioning, but eventually you have to come down on one side of an issue or the other. Even if you come to it mostly on your own.

    If you know who you are and know what you arfe doing, as a beekeeper and as a person, what is the "difficult situation"?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    I agree that we all put our faith in other people's knowledge, I just don't necessarily agree that the media qualifies as knowledge and when I refer to media in this case I am talking about cable news. It puts beekeepers in a difficult situation the same way it is for those of us formulating and selling body products: at what point are we going to spend more time defending a product and less time selling it. I have talked to people who absolutely refuse to buy anymore honey after reports came out that honey was being imported, wasn't pure honey yet was relabeled and sold as such. What happens when enough people get upset about these reports and demand regulation. Then the government decides to regulate it in a way that isn't affordable to the hobby beekeeper. If you think it can't happen just look at what is happening to the body product industry right now. If you asked me 5 yrs ago, I would have said it couldn't happen either but it happened because consumers were tired of false labels, dishonest producers and lack of oversite.

    Why it is difficult is because we as beekeepers can't even agree on what constitutes natural and pure so how do we educate the public and educate them to a point that they don't start questioning a product altogether like some people are now doing with honey.
    ~Michelle

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Soap Pixie View Post
    HVH

    I don't think fearing GMO's due to the lack of safety testing is fearing them for the wrong reason. In fact, I think citizen concern over Pusztai's test results and the fact he was fired after he released the data showing the damaging affects GMO's had on rats is something to be extremely concerned about.

    .
    The rest of your post I generally agree with but I cannot draw any conclusions about Pusztai's paper "Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine" without reading it. I could register at the Lancet but make it a general rule not to register for anything that is supposed to be free. I have read the arguments on both sides which means it all boils down to the data. What I can say, is that on theoretical grounds most GMO's have altered protein expression being coded for by transduced foreign DNA that should not get past our digestive tract or at least into our blood stream. Proteins get broken down into peptides and then into amino acids which for all practical purposes are the same for GMO and non-GMO alike. It is very difficult to speculate how a transgenic protein could affect organ systems. Since we don't have infinite knowledge, anything is possible so I cannot say with certainty that GMO's don't pose a health risk, but I am currently skeptical about such claims. Before the foreign proteins are broken down, an immune response is possible but I'm not sure how that would equate to organ damage.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Soap Pixie View Post
    Why it is difficult is because we as beekeepers can't even agree on what constitutes natural and pure so how do we educate the public and educate them to a point that they don't start questioning a product altogether like some people are now doing with honey.
    Perhaps our experiences are somewhat different, but not too much so.

    When I get questions about "raw", or "organic", or "heated/unheated" I do my best to answer them. And then, if the consumer doesn't want to buy because of their own ideas, that's not something I give much thought to. On a case by case basis, what can I do about it?

    I don't spend alot of time or energy buying into consumers misconceptions or paranoia. I also do not try to SELL them honey.

    I also sell more honey each year, even when I raise my prices. When I raise my price, I sell more honey. The consumer thinks that if it costs more it must be better. That's what business and marketing experts tell me is the reason.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    Perhaps we should simply state on the label:
    "Our hives are not treated with pesticides or medications." --if that's true, of course.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Organic Honey is Certified?

    For your honey to be truly proven Organic, would it not have to be sent off to a lab and have a pesticide base line done on it??? As a member of Souix, my honey has to go through one of the most stringent labs in the nation. Because of this I have a pesticide base line that shows exactly what is in my honey as a possible contaminent. I have bought supers of comb in the past from other producers. Whatever has been in contact with that comb will show up in the honey and in the baseline. Even though I have an extremely low base line, I would never call my honey organic. RAW yes, unheated yes, organic no. TK

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