local-honey-bee-suppliesRJ Honey Farm

Organic Honey? Probably Not.


Is organic honey really organic? Probably not.

The American Bee Journal, November 2020, said the silent part out loud. "Please stop misusing the term 'organic'!"

The USDA has specific guidelines for a company to use the word "organic." The process is detailed and stringent. Even a small producer has to follow the requirements to claim the 'organic' label.

What are some of them?

1-There is a one year transitioning process. All the honey comb needs to be replaced. The bees need to build it under the organic rules. Sounds simple. But if you are a beekeeper you understand the implications.
2-Treatment free beekeeping is not organic beekeeping. This may violate USDA husbandry regulations. Animals need to be kept healthy. This includes honey bees.
3-Paperwork. The government loves records. The ABJ article lists sixteen categories which require strict record keeping.
4-Location and forage zones. It has to be demonstrated that bees are foraging for nectar, pollen, water and propolis on land that fits organic standards. The forage zone has a radius of 1.8 miles. The supervision area has a radius of 2.2 miles.

The forage area is 3.24 square miles. This extends to a required supervision area of 4.84 square miles. That land can't have any towns, houses, golf courses and a number of other items.

Do you know anyone who has exclusive organic use of 4.84 square miles of land? I don't either. This exempts, as far as I can tell, anyone in central Indiana from claiming to have organic honey.

Central Indiana beekeepers, now we have some information to keep us honest in labeling.

And you're an educated consumer next time you see a local beekeeper with 'Organic' on the label.