Is Organic Honey Always Raw?
You’re a health-conscious shopper wandering the halls of your local market. On the lookout for nutritious products to stock your pantry, you are sure to notice the deluge of buzzwords on packaging. “Natural”, “Healthy”, “Organic”, “Raw”, and more, pop out from every corner of every aisle. But what do they all mean? Is organic always healthy? Is healthy always raw? Is natural always organic? Sorting out the meaningful from the marketing can be a challenge for even the most savvy shopper.
“Is organic honey the same as raw honey?” is a common question that our Sleeping Bear customer service team often hears. The lack of clear definition of both terms makes it difficult for the consumer to differentiate between them. Today we’re going to help clear the air with a look at the real definition of organic honey and raw honey.
Raw honey is just that – raw. At the most basic level, “Raw Honey” is honey that has not been heated past the point of pasteurization. Bees keep their hives around the 95 degree mark while making honey, and raw honey is not heated beyond this point during the extraction or bottling process. By not heating the honey, it retains all the natural enzymes and properties it has in the hive.
Organic honey is a different ball of (bees)wax. Honey is organic when the flowers that the bees use to produce the honey have not been treated with chemicals. The term organic honey has nothing to do with the production process of the honey. A hive can produce organic honey, but the extracted honey can be heated, filtered, and processed – and therefore not raw. Or, you can harvest the raw honey.
Raw vs Organic Honey
Therefore, not all organic honey is raw honey, and not all raw honey is necessarily organic. Organic honey is a tricky subject. Bees can travel miles to pollinate flowers. In order to be truly organic, one must know that every flower the bees could have possibly visited was untreated. At Sleeping Bear Farms, we do not label our raw honey as organic. The reality is that we cannot be 100% sure that every flower a bee visits has not been treated in some way, and therefore we don’t want to mislead anyone. So while we don’t treat the flowers, we can’t be sure that someone in the area hasn’t and wouldn’t want to mislead anyone with our advertising. You can, however, be completely sure that our honey is truly raw.