Have you ever wondered why there are different labels and terms used for honey and what do they really mean? There is Raw Honey, Pure Honey, Commercial Honey, Organic Honey, Unfiltered Honey, and even Regular Honey. Aren’t they all essentially the same?
In terms of processing and nutritional value, NO. These are not the same.
This blog post will talk about what you need to know about raw honey vs commercial vs organic honey. Be informed, know the difference, and buy the best type of honey at the right place.
What is Raw Honey?
The simple explanation of “Raw Honey” is honey that is not heated, filtered, pasteurized, or processed in any way. Technically, it means that the honey didn’t go through any sort of “high temperature” heating or processing.
Also referred to as “Natural Honey”, “Pure Honey” or “Unfiltered Honey”, Raw Honey is best bought from the local beekeepers. Local Beekeepers don’t process their honey the same way how “big companies” process their commercial honey.
Raw Honey VS Commercial Honey
Raw honey is different from the usual “commercial” honey that is being sold in grocery stores.
Commercial Honey or “Supermarket Honey” has been processed in a high temperature heat. These are mostly pasteurized - that is heated at 70 degrees Celsius or more, followed by rapid cooling. This is done to make the honey easier to handle when packing.
When heated, honey becomes more fluid, thus it is easier to filter and bottle. In addition, filtering makes it look cleaner and smoother in texture as it removes pollen and other impurities.
On the other hand, since Raw Honey is not filtered, it is likely to contain particles from the beehive including pieces of pollen, honeycomb, beeswax, and even broken parts of a bee (wings, leg, etc). Raw honey is only strained thus it looks cloudy compared to the clear appearance of filtered commercial honey.
Effects of Heating and Filtering of Commercial Honey
Pasteurization (heating) does not only change the texture and taste of honey but also affects its nutritional value. Honey that is heated (commercial honey) becomes less nutritious than raw, pure honey and here’s why.
Heating removes the natural aromas, yeasts, and enzymes found in raw honey. As a result, it has lesser nutrients and antioxidants which are responsible for the amazing health benefits of honey.
Similarly, filtering results to a less nutritious honey since it removes vital particles like pollen.
What is Organic Honey and what does Certified Organic Mean?
While some people often use the term raw honey and organic honey interchangeably to mean “pure or natural honey”, they actually don’t mean the same thing.
As mentioned above, Raw Honey simply means the honey was not heated nor filtered. It is pure and naturally processed.
On the other hand, Organic Honey means the honey was produced from a bee farm that follows the strict standards of Organic Beekeeping. Specifically, it means that bees get the nectar from flowers that were not sprayed with chemicals and that the bees were not given antibiotics.
Here in Australia, organic farming certification is issued by the Australian Certified Organic (ACO).
Australian Certified Organic (ACO) Basic Organic Beekeeping and Honey Production Guidelines
As per ACO guidelines, certification may occur following a 12-month period of Pre-certification under the auditing system of the CO that verifies conformance to the requirements of the Standard:
A few rules include:
Apiary locations shall not be located within a 5 kilometer radius of pollution sources which may cause contamination of honey by returning and/or actively foraging bees.
Hygiene and hive management shall be a critical focus of the operator to ensure the health and welfare of the hive, and disease and pest prevention.
Honey shall be stored below 45 degrees Celsius and not be stored under conditions which pose risk of contamination from containers or surrounds.
To learn more about the certification, you can read the Organic Beekeeping Rules from ACO.
Where to Buy Raw, Australian Certified Organic Honey
Raw, Organic Honey is best bought from local beekeepers. To ensure its high quality and authenticity, look for the Australian Certified Organic logo (with its certificate number) found in its bottle label or packaging.
My Dad’s Honey - Raw and Australian Certified Organic Honey
My Dad's Honey is certified with Australian Certified Organic - it means that we make sure we adhere to the guidelines and comply with national and international production standards of producing our organic honey products.
Our raw, organic honey is exclusively harvested from our family’s farm. Cold spun and gravity strained, My Dad’s Honey comes in its purest form. It is loaded with nutrients and chemical-free - just as nature intended.
The family’s bees are tenderly cared for, making each drop of honey even more“sweeter”.