What Is The Difference Between Raw Honey And Organic Honey?

Raw honey v organic honeyRaw honey. Organic honey. Pure honey. Active honey. Manuka honey... all these labels are confusing to most people.

Are they the same thing? Or different?

Is raw honey and organic honey the same thing?

In this short post we clear the myths behind each of these labels.

What is raw honey?

Raw honey

Raw honey is honey that has not been pasteurised (heat treated) above 45C and has not had its pollen filtered out.

It frequently crystallises quickly due to its high pollen content.

Examples of raw honey include raw honey sold on the internet, in independent food shops and local honey sold at farmers markets.

Supermarkets do not sell raw honey.

What is organic honey?


Organic code

Organic honey is honey that is free of chemicals and antibiotics.

Organic honey has been independently certified to come from a bee hive that is 5 to 8 miles away from the nearest artificial chemical source, i.e. roads, factories, houses, etc.

This is why no honey produced in the UK is organic, because it is not possible to place bee hives

It is illegal to sell or market a honey as "organic" if it has not been certified by a government approved organic control body.

If a honey labelled as "organic" does not have the code of the certifier, e.g. GB-ORG-04, DE-OKO-001, etc. on the label, then it is not organic.

Are raw honey and organic honey the same thing?

Raw organic honey

No. Raw means not pasteurised or filtered. Organic means certified free of chemicals.

So honey can be raw and organic, raw but not organic and organic but not raw. They are two different things.

For example, honey produced by a local English beekeeper is raw but not organic, and organic honey sold in a supermarket is organic but not raw.

What is pure honey?

Pure honey

Pure honey is simply honey to which no ingredient has been added. "Pure honey" does not mean it is raw or organic.

For example, "honey with ginger" or "honey with black seed" is not "pure honey" because an ingredient has been added to the honey.

Pure honey may come from bees fed sugar solution and it may be pasteurised, filtered and contain chemicals and antibiotics.

Pure honey does not mean the honey is raw or organic.

What is active honey?

10+ labelActive honey is honey that has been independently certified by a food testing laboratory to have antibacterial "activity."

It is normally expressed as a number on the label, e.g. 5+, 10+, 15+, etc.

One way of understanding activity in honeys is like "bacteria killing power." The higher the number, the higher the bacteria killing power of the honey.

All honeys possess some antibacterial activity, but only honeys with an activity rating of at least 10+ are considered to be beneficial to humans.

Manuka is the most common honey marketed with an activity rating.

What is manuka honey?

Manuka flower

Manuka honey is a type of honey that comes from bees feeding on the manuka bush in New Zealand.

It is good honey but many people believe it is overpriced and over-exaggerated. There is a lot of fake manuka honey on the market.

It is very difficult to buy genuine manuka honey. 

For example, the annual global production of manuka honey is 1700 tons per year. Yet over 10,000 tons of manuka honey is sold globally every year. In Britain alone, 1800 tons of manuka honey is sold every year.

What honey is the best?

Buy raw or raw organic.

Raw honey is better than supermarket honey.

Raw organic honey is better than raw honey.

And raw organic active honey is better than raw organic honey.

Avoid supermarket honey as it has been pasteurised (heat-treated) in a process that kills its beneficial living nutrients.


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  • Dear Joanna,

    Honey that says certified organic has not had anything added to it, nor has any substance been fed to the bees. You are correct that there is lots of honey on the market with sugar solution fed to the bees, especially commercially processed supermarket “honey.”

    By buying raw organic honey you are getting honey in its purest form.

    By all means, ask the suppliers this question. Our honey is produced by simple local beekeepers who depend on the honey for their livelihoods. They do not feed the bees sugar solution.

    Kind regards,

    Latin Honey Shop
  • Is there any label for honey that had been produced with bee welfare in mind? I’ve heard that replacing the bees’ honey with sugar water shortens bees’ lives and makes bees more vulnerable to infection. I hear that some beekeepers take a lower percentage of the honey produced in order to leave plenty for the bees themselves. Is there a way to identify honey produced by such beekeepers?

  • Love reading about the honey facts
    I had the Mexican raw honey and it was delicious
    I will but more
    Great to know all the fact honey facts
    Thank you and have a nice day

    Mariam Memon

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