Why are Australian companies importing organic honey when there seems to be a lot available in Australia?

The production of organic honey is dependent on the availability of hive sites without contamination and an adequate source of food. Dry weather conditions reduce the food available to bees and hence the amount of organic honey available can become inconsistent, especially during times of extreme climatic change. As a result of the recent climatic changes, the rise of imported honey is occurring due to a variety of reasons , the primary are; inconsistent domestic pricing, varied supply and high demand.

Why does it say “Australian” certified organic when it contains imported ingredients?

The Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS) certifies the organic nature of a product not the origin, therefore the Certification logo applies no reference to the country of origin. Australian Organic recently updated the BUD certification logo to require all certified products with imported ingredients to feature a different logo that simply reads “ACO Certified Organic” instead of “Australian Certified Organic”. These changes came into effect when the Country of Origin Labelling changes were made mandatory from July 2018.

Does imported honey carry bacteria/diseases we should be worried about?

Honey, regardless of whether it is imported or organic, may carry disease. In Australia, there are strict biosecurity processes in place governing the movement of honey between States. Imported honey, regardless of its organic status, is subject to these strict biosecurity processes.

To understand more about the biosecurity regulations, visit http://beeaware.org.au/biosecurity/

Is the imported honey tested for neonicotinoids or glyphosate?

Those products certified under the Australian Certified Organic Standard are tested for Neonicotinoids and Glyphosate among other synthetic herbicides and pesticides. As part of the annual review process all certified operators experience random unannounced audits are performed each year to ensure operators are complying to the Australian Certified Organic Standard.

Why don’t certifiers release the results of testing done on supermarket honeys in Australia?

This information is covered under a confidentiality agreement between the certifier and their client.
However, if a certified organic product was tested by a certifier and deemed non-compliant, for example, contaminated with neonicotinoids or glyphosate, the product certification would be revoked. It would require the immediate cessation of sale of that product and require the operator to conduct an immediate trade recall and the product could no longer be sold as certified organic.

All recalls appear on the FSANZ Product Recall website where all trade level recalls are published. If a client was found to be using a prohibited substance on their farm, the land would lose certification and produce from that farm could not be sold as certified organic.

Is it true that bee keepers in China feed bees sugar and corn syrup?

Organic honey that is certified to the USDA or EU Standard and is produced in China – which is recognised by certifiers of the Australian Certified Organic Standard – requires that bees are provided with organic forage area and if there are extreme climatic issues, meaning the bees may starve, then organic honey/nectar can be provided. This is only ever done if the bees are at risk of dying.

How often do you test the honey certified to the ‘Bud’?

ACOS Certifiers test honey on an ongoing basis. Honey from different places in Australia and honey that has been imported is tested as part of market sampling annually.
At a minimum, all honey and bee products from certified apiarists are tested annually, however many are subjected to multiple unannounced audits during any one year which includes batch and sample testing.