ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  
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ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS



Published On: July 7, 2014, by Neat Buzz, Kenneth Martin, Virginia
Tag: Organic, Honey, Bee , Rating: 4.5

GENERAL CATEGORY
 
         
 

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ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS  | NEATBUZZ.COM

The standards for organic honey production are much different than those for producing other organic livestock products. Managing honey bees is very difficult, so the general rules applicable for other livestock cannot be implemented in the case of organic honey production.

The National Standard of Canada, instituted by the Government of Canada, has provided standards for organic honey production in their document the “Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards”. The North London Beekeeping Association has also summarized the organic honey standards widely used in the UK in one of its information sheets. The commonly used organic honey production guidelines have been given below (please note that the guidelines and the numbers given below are indicative):



1

 

LOCATION OF ORGANIC APIARY

 

An organic apiary should be placed on a piece of land that is maintained organically. The nectar, honeydew, or pollen used by the honey bees should come from organic sources. Normally, a honey bee can travel up to 3 km for gathering honey. Hence, any chemical farms in the vicinity should be located outside a distance of about 3 km.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

2

 

ORGANIC BEE HIVES

 

The bee hives used for organic apiculture should be made of natural timber or metal. Treated timber cannot be used for making the hives. Furthermore, lead-based paints should not be used and if plastics are used, then they should be covered with bee wax.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

3

 

TRANSITION PERIOD

 

Like organic milk production, there is a transition period involved when a farmer shifts from conventional honey production to organic honey production. This transition period is about 12 months. Non-organic wax should be replaced with organic wax during this transition period.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

4

 

ORIGIN OF HONEY BEES

 

The replaced or introduced honey bees can come from organic as well as non-organic apiaries. The apiary where new honey bees have been introduced can be included in organic honey production only after a period of about 60 days, after ensuring the replacement of bees and the management of the apiary has been carried out through organic means.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  
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5

 

FEED FOR ORGANIC HONEY BEES

 

In organic apiculture, the honey bee hives should not be placed in or near farms where chemical farming is being practiced. Also, artificial feeding can be carried out; however, this should only be done when it is difficult to provide access to organic foraging to the bees. When non-organic feed is used, the apiary should be removed from organic honey production, depending on the duration of artificial feeding.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

6

 

QUEEN HONEY BEES

 

The queen honey bees can be replaced whenever required. A healthy queen should be selected for replacement to ensure preventative disease management. Sometimes, artificial insemination is also permitted. Cutting of the wings of the queen honey bee is not permitted.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

7

 

ORGANIC HONEY DISEASE CONTROL

 

Stress should be put on using preventative methods of disease control, such as selecting healthy queen honey bees and replacement bees. Furthermore, antibiotics cannot be used for treating diseases. Whenever antibiotics are used, the apiary should be isolated and kept out of organic honey production for at least a year.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

8

 

ORGANIC HONEY EXTRACTION

 

A live brood cannot be used for extracting honey from a brood comb. The surfaces that come in contact with the honey should be made of food-grade material or should be coated with beeswax.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  
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9

 

ORGANIC HONEY PROCESSING

 

Organic honey should not be heated above 35 degrees Celsius. Gravitational settling and filtration should be used for removing extraneous solids.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  

10

 

ORGANIC HONEY LABELING

 

Every apiary should be properly managed and records of the apiary should be maintained. One should be able to trace the honey stored in an organic honey jar to the apiary it has been obtained from.

ORGANIC HONEY STANDARDS
  
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