Organic honey can do a lot more than just sweeten our breakfast - we show how liquid gold promotes environmental protection and what is important when making a selection
Author: Katharina Healing
Honey - the liquid gold for sweet enjoyment. We spread it on our morning bread, refine salads or caramelize fruit with it. However, there are more and more problems associated with the production of honey. For one are bees increasingly from Aussterben threatened if nothing changes in the way honey is produced. On the other hand, the quality of the honey can fluctuate greatly and ultimately even harm the body more than it is good.
But how do you recognize high quality organic honey and which are the best?
Premium, Auslese and Real German Honey as a quality feature
Notes such as "Premium", "Auslese" and "Real German Honey" indicate a very high quality organic honey. First of all, it is important to know that the notes "Premium" or "Auslese" are only allowed to carry honeys that meet strict quality standards. Mostly even much stricter than what the German honey regulation pretends.
These criteria include standards regarding maturity, extraction, processing, filling and storage. Of the German Beekeeping Association (DIB) also provides similar criteria under the registered trademark "Echter Deutscher Honig", which exceed the German Honey Ordinance.
What is organic honey?
The main difference between the production of organic honey and conventional honey is the work of the beekeeper and the way the bees are kept. For around 20 years the guidelines for ecological beekeeping have been through the EU organic regulation and “organic honey” is protected as a term. It is therefore checked regularly and in accordance with the requirements.
Guidelines for organic honey:
- Bees are only kept in boxes made of natural raw materials such as clay, wood or straw
- Boxes may only be painted on the outside and with non-toxic paints
- Boxes are no more than 3 kilometers from the next bee pasture
- Wax of the middle walls comes from ecological units
- Winter food is preferably made from its own honey or pollen
- Trimming the queen's wings is prohibited
- Heat damage to honey from a beehive temperature of over 40 ° C is prohibited
- Chemical agents and drugs against parasites, diseases and to keep the bees away during harvest are prohibited
- Waste incineration and pollutants emitted by industries or highways are prohibited in the vicinity of the beehives
The guidelines also regulate which substances are permitted to combat the varroa mite. It is a parasite that was introduced from Asia in the XNUMXs. It can exterminate a western bee colony, while Asian bees have become resistant due to evolution. Now, paradoxically, western bee colonies are dependent on humans, even though they colonized the earth far before us.
Regional vs. German vs. International manufacture
In addition to the ecological production of the honey, the country of origin is of decisive importance when it comes to sustainability. In addition, the address and name of the person or company who produced or bottled the honey and sold it can be found on every product.
But be careful: A regional address suggests that the honey was produced locally. Often this is not the case, however, as it is the company that only bottled the honey. The designation of origin reveals where the honey was actually produced. Like the manufacturer's address, this is mandatory and is on the label. For honey from more than one country of origin, this information is given:
- "Mixture of honey from EU countries"
- "Mixture of honey from non-EU countries"
- "Mixture of honey from EU countries and non-EU countries"
China and Turkey produce the most honey worldwide, so that Eu Parliament. In the EU, Spain, Hungary, Germany and Romania are the front runners in terms of production with more than 20.000 tons per year.
Imports into the EU come from China, Ukraine, Argentina and Mexico. Honey is the third most common counterfeit product in the world. Beware of adulterated artificial honey. This is stretched with sugar syrup. Such products are far cheaper and put European honey producers under enormous pressure.
Honey preferably regionally directly from the beekeeper
Probably the most sustainable way to get your honey is to buy it in your own district. Almost every part of the city has an apiary, where regionally produced honey can be bought and possibly even the bee population can be viewed.
Important: The note "directly from the beekeeper" may only carry honey that is passed on directly from the producing beekeeping to consumers. With honey from the neighborhood, the local beekeeping and thus the local economy are also supported in a rare profession. In addition, long delivery routes and a few other work steps at the expense of the environment are eliminated.
Organic honey seals and brands
Buying organic honey is the first important step towards sustainable, conscious and ecological honey consumption. In addition to the quality of the honey, it is also important to keep an eye on long-term and fair trade partnerships. These include, for example, guaranteed minimum prices, fairly traded products, as well as compliance with international social standards and fair working conditions.
Various brands and product seals identify fair trade honey. This includes brands of the fair trade importers GEPA, EI-PUENTE or dwp, as well as the product seals:
- Naturland Fair
- Fair for Life
- Fair Trade by Ecocer
- are fairtrade
Protecting bees as the primary goal
The biodiversity of the earth is decreasing - the World Biodiversity Council has determined. 40 percent of all species are threatened with extinction. Including the bee. The reasons: There are fewer and fewer different flowering plants that the bees can pollinate.
The monoculture economy only allows the bees a short period of time during the year to collect nectar from one type of plant, while they are starving for the rest of the year. The insecticides and climate change also mean that more and more bees do not survive.
Not only bees suffer under these conditions, but ultimately we humans too. A third of our food grows exclusively through pollination by bees: apples, plums, cherries and pears. If these foods are eliminated, there will be a large gap in the bio-system and in our food diversity.
Bees are also responsible for the colorful variety of flowers. Without bees, nature would only be green. Plants “fight” to be pollinated by bees and other insects - this is the only way they can reproduce. It is precisely for this reason that they have developed their different smells and colors.
Anyone who buys their jar of organic honey from a beekeeper or at least makes sure that the honey from the supermarket is of organic quality is committed to the preservation of the bee colonies and ultimately also to a more sustainable, diverse flora - for people, animals and the environment.