Natural honey can be described as honey in its original state, as it is constructed by bees. The opposite of natural honey would be synthetic, but at this time synthetic honey does not exist. There can be additives put into honey to change it from its natural state. Organic is a term used to describe the way the products are grown or processed. Natural honey may or may not be certified organic according to USDA regulations.
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In most cases honey is organic when it is taken from its natural location, the bee hive. HelpGuide.org points out that in order for a food to be labeled as organic it must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications and must remain separate from conventional products, or products that are not organic. No unnatural pesticides, bioengineered genes or other synthetic products can be used in preparing or storing the honey. When honey is collected using safe practices in a natural bee hive, it is still in an organic state. Honey may contain spores that can cause a deadly infection called botulism. To prevent this, the honey may be pasteurized or heated to temperatures hot enough to kill the bacteria. This process, when done in accordance with USDA standards, has no effect on the organic state of the product. Individuals seeking the most natural and organic form of honey may wish to purchase raw honey.
Honey is a natural substance manufactured by bees. It is collected by bee farmers and packaged for consumer purchase. Up until the point of collecting and putting the honey into a purchasable container, the honey is completely natural. What the company or farmer does with the honey after it has been collected can change it from natural to unnatural. Natural honey that is minimally processed is likely to be considered organic, but it may not receive the USDA stamp stating that it is certified organic.
Unnatural and Non-Organic Honey
Adding preservatives, flavors or using genetically modified bees makes honey both unnatural and non-organic in most cases. Some flavors marked "natural" may maintain the integrity of honey states the American Dietetic Association. This is due to the FDA having made no statement about the true definition of natural ingredients. Adding fresh berries or other natural products to the honey can change the flavor, but maintain the natural integrity of the product. When a synthetic ingredient, such as a dye or manufactured sugar, is added to honey, it is no longer natural.
- HelpGuide: Organic Foods
- American Dietetic Association: Is There Truth In Packaging? American Dietetic Association Offers Help in Translating Food Marketing Terms
- Bee-Pollen-Buzz: Raw Honey
- MayoClinic.com: Organic Foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?
- MayoClinic.com: How can I protect my baby from infant botulism?