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Organic Honey


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Hi --

When honey is labeled as organic, you are correct to be skeptical. In normal life, bees collect nectar and pollen from plants within 3-5 miles around the hive (that's 31,400 hectares) and there are few places in the world where one can assert, let alone prove, that none of the pollinated plants were exposed to pesticides, banned fertilizers, environmental contaminants, and so on. In some developing countries -- including regions of Amazonia -- we have heard that projects where beekeepers work in extremely remote areas are producing certifiably organic honey. I am also aware of a supplier in the midwest who makes that claim, though it is hard to imagine.

There is a subgroup of beekeepers who produce "Certified Naturally Grown" honey, which indicates that all the interventions which they make in their hives (disease prevention and treatment, supplemental feeding, etc.) conform to organic requirements, and that is probably very good for the bees. Though I am not sure what difference it makes for the product in the jar, since it was gathered from the greenspace around the apiary.

Hope that helps.

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Can anyone explain how honey can be certified as "organic"?  How does the producer know the types of plants the bees visited?

"It's hard to be organic when your neighbor isn't."

-- Winegrower who owns one row of vines in a Burgundy vineyard.

(This is a true quote; I can't remember who made it.)

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