Raw honey is not the same as organic honey. Raw and organic honey are subject to different regulations in different countries.
For example, in the US, there is no rule that organic honey can’t be heated or processed, which means it may not be raw.
In Australia, Australian certified organic products feature an “Australian Certified Organic” logo. Imported products that are organic feature a logo that reads “ACO Certified Organic”.
In any jurisdiction organic beekeeping takes great skill on the part of the beekeeper to maintain hive strength with only organic measures to protect the colony.
To be officially certified in Australia the following rules need to be adhered too:
- Apiary locations shall not be located within a 5 kilometre radius of pollution sources which may cause contamination of honey by returning and/or actively foraging bees. Such sources may include conventional orchards and crops, urban centres, sanitary landfills, garbage dumps, contaminated water, golf courses and GMO crops.
- To comply with ACO standards, beehives must be constructed from certified organic materials and only exposed to organic environments and preparation methods.
- Hygiene and hive management is a critical focus of the operator to ensure the health and welfare of the hive. Where preventative methods fail, veterinary medicinal products may be used under strict conditions. Synthetically compounded materials for bee husbandry use (e.g. antibiotics, miticides and synthetic veterinary treatments) are prohibited.
- Honey and Bee pollen from a certified organic is permitted ad feed. Supplementary feeding of bees shall only occur after the last harvest of the season with feed complying with this Standard as above.
- Wing clipping is prohibited as is the destruction of the male brood during harvest.
- 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 and the full list checklist, you can read the Organic Beekeeping Rules from ACO.
Hive sites are regularly audited to ensure they meet a rigorous checklist of requirements to reach certification.