Honey in the Hot Seat

A new year brings many new opportunities and in the food sphere, 2018 may be known as the year for transparency and authenticity. Americans have become increasingly interested in and concerned with how their food is made and where it comes from. One example of this: Netflix launched a documentary called “Rotten” and in each episode details foods which have the most work to do when it comes to transparency. Honey is one of them.

From the trailer for the episode called Lawyers, Guns & Honey

With demand for honey soaring just as bees are dying off in record numbers, hidden additives, hive thefts and other shady tactics are on the rise.

Honey is such a wholesome product, as American as apple pie- how is honey now being investigated by the same Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tasked with looking out for illicit drug shipments?

It’s a matter of supply and demand. Since high fructose corn syrup became a dirty word, more Americans want natural sweeteners and are turning to honey. But American bees are dying off in record numbers, and it is harder and harder for beekeepers all over the world to make a living from honey production, so there is not enough honey to supply the market.

LogoWe became a True Source Certified honey company three years ago to show our customers the honey we sell is genuine and from where it says it is from. We join a small group of American honey producers in pledging to:

…protect our customers and consumers, as well as the global reputation of honey products, by ensuring to our utmost ability that honey:

  • Is ethically sourced in a transparent and traceable manner from known beekeepers and brokers;
  • Moves through the supply chain in full accordance with U.S. law and without circumvention of trade duties; and
  • Carries truthful labeling as to its source, has been tested to ensure quality, and has been handled in a safe and secure manner from hive to table.

We appreciate the opportunity to continue to do business the right way.

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Women in Business Spotlight: Rebeca Krones

women-in-business-spotlightHighlighting green businesses around the nation

Tropical Traders Specialty Foods is a family-based business that produces raw, certified-organic honey under two brands: Royal Hawaiian Honey and Bee Well Honey. The business was founded more than 10 years ago, spans three generations and values sustainability as one of its core beliefs. The U.S. honeybee population (pollinating bees in particular) is declining for a number of reasons, including exposure to pesticides, disease and climate change. However, Topical Traders Specialty Foods practices organic beekeeping to protect and preserve its honeybee colony and to provide high-quality products to consumers.

Rebeca Krones, the company’s co-owner, explains how “none of the bees that produce the honey we sell are used for pollination. While we all know honeybees are the most efficient pollinators, and crucial to the production of much of the food we consume, bees that are used for pollinating are at a much higher risk for disease than those which are not.”

With principles such as using recyclable packaging materials, educating customers about sustainability and producing less waste, Tropical Traders Specialty Foods is a leader and supporter when it comes to green efforts. And now more than ever, consumers across the country are becoming more aware of food product labels, certifications and ingredients.

Read more here.

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What is Raw Honey?

Beekeeper with honeycomb

Honey is a natural product, and it’s not going to be totally uniform every single time. The small variations are actually a benefit to you, because that’s how you know you’ve found an honest source.

Honey is the sweet substance we all know made by honeybees. Bees collect nectar from flowers, mix it with unique enzymes, deposit it into honeycomb and let it “ripen” until it contains only about 18% moisture. It is essentially highly concentrated flower nectar.
Beekeepers use centrifugal force to spin the honey from the comb during extraction. At that time, pollen gets mixed in with the honey as bees store pollen alongside honey in the honeycomb cells.
The liquid honey is then strained to remove wax particles. At this point, we have what the bees produced- raw honey. It is a living food as the enzymes honey contains are active and beneficial to human health.
Much commercially-available honey, however, is highly processed. It is filtered to remove pollen and heated to pasteurize it. This is done to preserve the shelf-life of the product. If the honey contains pollen and is not pasteurized, honey will crystallize much more quickly. Most people expect their honey to remain liquid and squeeze from a bear, and this presentation will not work with raw honey.
Our honey is bottled in a wide-mouth jar so you can reach the bottom once the honey crystallizes inside. We do not filter or pasteurize our honey. It is warmed to a maximum temperature of 110 degrees F to make it flow more easily during bottling, but that is all.
When honey is raw, it has a much richer, nuanced flavor than processed honey does. Honey may vary in color and look cloudy as it crystallizes and solidifies. That is completely natural and fine – honey is a natural product, and it’s not going to be totally uniform every single time. The small variations are actually a benefit to you, because that’s how you know you’ve found an honest source.

Note: There is no federal standard for raw honey. We follow the simple principle that our honey should be as close to the way bees made it as possible. However, the state of Utah did pass a Raw Honey Amendment, defining raw honey. We applaud their effort and mirror and exceed their standard.

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