A picture of non irradiated honey with a honey spoon on top

To understand what non irradiated honey is we first need to understand what irradiated honey is. All honey that gets imported into the country needs to be irradiated. 

Irradiated honey has been exposed to irradiation. This means that most of the possibly harmful bacteria in honey is killed. However, this also means that all the good enzymes, micro-organisms and vitamins are also destroyed by irradiating honey. Therefore, irradiated honey is not as healthy as non irradiated honey. 

So what is non irradiated honey?

Non irradiated honey is basically honey that has not been irradiated. All the good enzymes, bacteria and composition is still intact. This means that it is still healthy to consume. 

However, one needs to be careful to just eat any non irradiated honey. Honey can also be heated up to a point where it is no longer raw. 

Heated honey has more or less the same problems as irradiated honey. Enzymes, good micro-organisms are destroyed and the vitamins are no longer available for your body to consume. 

Make sure that you only buy raw, non irradiated honey from a local supplier like Melnovus. We only sell the best quality local raw honey that still contains all the healthy attributes like it should.

A picture containing 2 non irradiated honey jars. One contains raw bluegum honey and the other one raw creamed honey. Typical honey products

So why is honey irradiated?

If there are so many disadvantages of irradiated honey, why do producers irradiate honey? 

Let’s first look at some stats. Over the past few years, South African honey imports has grown to consume most of the local market. In fact, 60% of all available honey in South Africa is imported. Much of the imported honey gets mixed with local honey to give it a local taste. 

That is why, when you look at the labels of the honey on the shelves of the retailers, you will see that the origin of the honey will say South Africa and/or China or a similar country. 

Therefore, it is much better to buy honey from a local beekeeper that you know or who you can trust. 

Here is the reason:

African Foul Brood (AFB) disease broke out in South Africa in 2009 and 2015. This wiped out thousands of bee colonies in the Western Cape. Therefore, it threatened our honey and other food’s security. 

This disease was most likely imported into South Africa in the form of Raw Honey. This means it is an existential threat to bees and beekeepers in South Africa. 

So to protect the local bee colonies and production of raw honey, the law requires importers to irradiate honey to kill any harmful pathogens and bacteria. This is why all imported honey is irradiated and no longer good for your health. Especially not when compared to pure raw honey. 

So how can we avoid eating irradiated honey?

1. Avoid buying honey from big retailers

Raw honey from most big retailers are imported or mixed with imported honey. Especially when you buy cheap honey, you can know that it would have been imported for cheaper than local beekeepers can produce raw honey. 

So buy from established local honey brands that are certified to have non irradiated honey that is produced locally. Alternatively, you can support your local beekeeper who you know or that you know a friend of. 

2. Look at the reviews

People who have found local beekeepers who they are happy with will leave good reviews on the beekeepers Facebook and Google accounts. Search for a beekeeper that has at least a few good reviews and very little to no bad reviews on their pages. 

In this way we can help each other to find beekeepers that produce the best quality raw honey and that has excellent service. 

3. Look at the label

South African law requires producers of honey to mention on the label where the honey comes from and if it has been irradiated or not. If the business does not state these things on the label, do not buy from them, since they are not following the law. 

Many producers of raw honey do not state these requirements on their labels. This is why many raw honey consumers are so confused about this subject. 

Now we would like to hear from you, our community. Have you found a local beekeeper that you can support? Have you ever bought imported honey? Can you taste te difference?

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