Organic honey in EU, what does it mean?

22.01.2017. 21:00

If you bought honey that is labelled as organic that means that honey is made by the bees that were only fed with organically grown flowers.

That’s not all, organic beekeeping is a beekeeping practiced in clean environment, without intensive agriculture, use of synthetic feed and chemicals harmful for the bees. If the bees were fed from flowers that were treated with pesticides or some chemicals, their honey cannot be labeled as organic honey.

Organic honey verifies

  • The area within the 3 km radius around the beehives must be predominantly covered by natural vegetation and/or organic or low input farmland; this is especially relevant for crops visited by bees for feeding (fruit orchards, rapeseed, etc.); no major sources of pollution (industry, roads, etc.) must be within this area. Also, things are a little bit different for the UK. They use UK Soil Association standards in which radius must be 4 miles and not 3 km like it is in EU standard.
  • Hives construction also matters; the hive must be made of natural materials, without synthetic materials like paints, varnishes etc.
  • Bee feeding is also included, the hive must be left with reserves of honey and pollen sufficiently abundant to survive the period without nectar and honeydew. It is good to know that artificial feeding of colonies is allowed, but only with certified organic honey or organically produced sugar products.
  • Diseases must be prevented as far as possible. Only legally permitted phytotherapeutic products can be used in preference to allopathic products. For example if you want to treat colony against Varroa you are allowed to use only a few approved products.
  • Bees are also important, genetically altered bee species cannot be used. Also, for the first certification, all colonies will undergo one year of conversation period, before their honey could be labeled as organic honey.
  • Honey harvesting must be done without use of synthetic repellents. Destruction of bees in the combs as a method associated with the harvesting of beekeeping products is prohibited. Be aware, both removing of supers and honey extraction must be documented.

Long story short, organic certification verifies that the farm or handling facility complies with organic regulations. Their honey might be expensive, but if it is labeled as organic honey you can be sure that you bought a real thing.

If you are interested to find out more about organic honey, check this article: Organic honey – the honey that you should use