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Author Topic: "Organic" Honey  (Read 669 times)
Steel Tiger
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« on: April 27, 2013, 08:00:21 AM »

 I've been watching videos on youtube for the past year of people harvesting what they claim is "organic honey". I've commented on several of them, asking how they can consider the honey "organic" when they've been using treatments or adding contaminants on the hives and bees. Some of the responses included:
 "All honey is organic because the bees make it"
 "I don't use chemicals, I only use natural essential oils"
 "I only treat in the fall, by spring the hive is cleaned"

 I'm not saying it's right or wrong to do treatments on your bees, their your bees, do what you feel is best. I just felt these people were misleading as far as calling their honey "organic", and then teaching others who are interested into getting into the hobby that you can add things to a hive and still call it "organic".
 That got me wondering. If someone used only natural things to treat a hive, could the honey indeed be considered "organic"? Using oils from plants or dusting with powder sugar.

 My argument saying that it could possible be is: I only add compost to my garden so that I have healthy plants. I'm added something to the soil to enrich it and my vegetables are considered "organic"

 I'm looking for other opinions on it.
 This is assuming that the bees themselves aren't bringing in contaminants.
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 08:17:03 AM »

IMHO, if you can't prove there in no insecticide or herbicide used by anyone within 5 mile of your hives, you can't honestly call it organic. If you put anything in your hive that is not in it's natural form, you cannot call it organic.

IE: Compost is in it's natural form. White sugar and essential oils are not.

Again, IMHO, 99.999% of the US cannot qualify for producing organic. The other areas would not produce a honey crop, so there is no organic honey in the US.

Just my .03. "inflation, ya know"
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gov1623
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 08:19:08 AM »

I think 0% of honey is organic because you cant control were the bees are getting the nectar from.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 08:48:23 AM »

IE: Compost is in it's natural form. White sugar and essential oils are not.
I agree. Any contaminants, disqualifies it.
IMHO, if you can't prove there in no insecticide or herbicide used by anyone within 5 mile of your hives, you can't honestly call it organic. If you put anything in your hive that is not in it's natural form, you cannot call it organic.
In my neck of the woods, for some reason, there are very few gardens but literally acres of wild flowers and flowering shrubs and trees. I have no idea what the neighbors put in their lawns or if they spray their trees. I think that if I pushed it, I could possible get certified as organic. Unfortunately, I wouldn't want to go through the hassle. It's good enough for me knowing that while it may not be 100% contaminant free, it'll be much closer than a lot of beekeepers.
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Vance G
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 08:55:09 AM »

You might want to think of joining the naturally grown crowd.  They are a little more honest than the organic crowd, but many of their strictures are ridiculously 'feel good' and not about the product or for that matter the bees.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 09:22:28 AM »

You might want to think of joining the naturally grown crowd.  They are a little more honest than the organic crowd, but many of their strictures are ridiculously 'feel good' and not about the product or for that matter the bees.
I'm not a "green" person who looks for "organic" labels. The only reason I try to stay away from chemicals in my yard, as do my neighbors, is to protect our watershed. We're on well water. We're surround by ponds and lakes and would like to think most of us want to keep it clean. I know out of the few thousand homes in the area that there are going to be people that just don't care. The rest of us can only do what we can.
 For me it's not about "feeling good". It's about doing what's right.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 11:57:07 AM »

Good post, ST, in a short but to the point paragraph.

Ed
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 12:27:51 PM »

organic is pretty much a marketing tool.  it's kind of like the brown egg thing, except you can see that the eggs are really brown.  other than that, why would folks pay more for the color of the shell?

a lot of my friends farm for a living.  the conditions for having a certified organic farm are rigid.  no one i know does it. if it's that hard to certify a farm when you have control of what you do on the farm, how can you certify honey when you don't know where the bees are going?
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Jim 134
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 03:24:22 PM »

  The USDA, last I heard, had not pinned down the standards for Organic certification for honey.  Some states may have their own.



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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 03:33:04 PM »

You can call it organic all day long......but if you call it certified organic then you best be able to provide the paperwork to prove it.  Lots of farmers call their stuff organic because they do not use pesticides, but they will use chemical fertilizers and not think anything about it. 

Last I heard there were no GPS trackers small enough to fit on a worker bee.   grin   That would be about the only way to prove where the honey comes from.

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Jim 134
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 04:33:37 PM »

The last time I seen Dr. Jeff Pettis (Saturday, March 2, 2013) of the USDA of the Beltsville Bee Lab is still looking for insecticide free and herbicide free bees wax he has NOT found any he has been looking for about 10 years and yes he has look at
Dee Lusby, Michael Bush and "Fat Bee Man" Don Kuchenmeister and more

If you like you can contact:Dr. Jeff Pettis at
 
http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-45-33-00



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« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 03:47:59 AM by Jim 134 » Logged

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Ken
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 06:09:35 PM »

You are right to be suspicious of the term "organic".
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melliferal
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 12:54:16 AM »

Ohio disregards your neighbors and the surrounding land owners, and allows you to legally label your honey organic as long as you as the beekeeper don't add any chemicals to your hives.  Unfortunately, this makes the term "organic" both meaningless and misleading, considering what all beeks know (or should know) about where the honey comes from.  I would consider it evidence of a lack of certain scruples should one use the term under those circumstances.

"Naturally grown" does sound like a functional alternative.  I'm guessing it's not legally controlled?
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greenbtree
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 01:49:04 AM »

When I am asked whether my honey is organic, I tell people that I do not use pesticides, herbicides, commercial fertilizers, or antibiotics in my hives or on my property. I tell them that I own 33 acres and my property is bordered on two sides by a nature reserve.  Then I tell them that I cannot control the bees and that no beekeeper can, and that in my opinion, by the strictest definition of organic, that no honey is "organic".

JC
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