The secrets of RAW and NATURAL Byron Bay Honey
What do you actually mean by using the term raw and natural?
Many honeys sold in supermarkets are subjected to a process similar to pasteurization by subjecting the honey to excessive heating of up to 75 degrees Celsius. For three to four times it’s then pumped under enormous pressure through finer and finer filters. This process sterilizes the honey and it will stay liquid for much longer. But it can also cause damage to the chemical structure of the honey by increasing the level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). It can dramatically decrease enzyme activity, e.g. diastase as well as vitamins and minerals, which are helpful for our bodies to regulate digestion as well as the endocrine and immune system. Extreme filtering and heat processing can destroy and eliminate beepollen, vitamins and enzymes.
Instead Byron Bay Honey is only gently warmed and filtered within the guidelines governing the processing of raw honey without destroying the natural components of the product. We are retaining all the goodness of honey while we are fully compliant with international HACCP Food Safety requirements as specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
What's wrong with the widely used heat treatment of honey?
Naturally occuring vitamins, minerals and enzymes are very sensitive to heat and can be easily destroyed. It's one of the remarkable achievements of living bees in a hive: If the beehive heats up in summer about 200 000 bees wings will fan air through the hive to cool it down. They basically maintain a constant temperature inside to preserve their eggs and goodness of their stored honey in the comb. We are respecting their natural behaviour and will not overheat our honeys.
Is your product safe for human consumption?
We are fully compliant with strictest food safety standards (HACCP) set by the World Health Organisation. We are getting audited every 12 months to renew our certification. All our products carry the B-Safe logo as a quality proof. We got our honey tested in a German laboratory (2006) and they found that we are also complying with food safety standards of the European Union, which are some of the strictest in the world.
Why does your honey sometimes crystallize?
Honey which is heat processed will stay liquid for much longer than our raw honey. Raw and natural honey will usually go candied within 12 - 18 months. This is an indication that the chemical structure of our Byron Bay Honey has not been damaged. Once it's gone crystallized the honey will not change its natural structure and maintains all its goodness. In this way it can be kept longer in your pantry and is fit for human consumption. It has been reported that they found clay urns inside the Egyptian pyramids containing honey, which was still 'fresh' and ready for eating after 1000s of years. Natural, raw honey is possibly the natural, unprocessed food product with the longest shelf-life in the world. If your jar of Byron Bay Honey has crystallized you can liquify it by simply sitting the jar in hot tap water.
Why do you use P.E.T.E. Plastic jars? Are they harmful for our bodies? Why are you not using glass jars?
There is a number imprinted underneath our plastic jars - it's a Nr. 1. PETE jars earning this number 1 rating are safe for single use when containing honey. There are plastic jars rated number 3, 6 and 7 which can contain Bisphenol A (BPA) found to release substances potentially harmful for our bodies. However Byron Bay Honey jars with a number 1 imprinted don't contain BPA and are safe. Where possible we are trying to follow ethical and environmentally friendly guidelines in our operations. We are using packaging from renewal sources, e.g. our cartons are made from 100% recycled fibres. Our PETE jars are fully recyclable (Nr. 1- ready for your recycling bin). Some people have raised concerns about our use of PETE Plastic containers and we have spent a lot of time researching the issue of plastic vs. glass jars. There is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating that recyclable PETE Nr. 1 honey jars are bad for our bodies. Most of us are feeling pretty relaxed about brushing our teeth with a plastic toothbrush or having a soft drink or fruit juice from a plastic bottle. Alfalfa- or beansprouts at the health food store are mostly packaged in plastic bags or containers. It is hard to imagine food packaging without the use of plastic. During critical times of global warming we are also concerned about our carbon footprint: PETE plastic jars weigh only about 30% of glass jars (ca. 30 gramms each). That means we can save about 70% in carbon emissions during transportation by simply choosing plastic rather than the much heavier glass containers. It would also be interesting to find out how much CO2 is emitted in the production of a PETE vs Glass jar. Another issue is food safety: glass jars can splinter and break, plastic jars don't. By weighing up all the different issues here we have decided for the use of 100% recyclable PETE Nr. 1 containers which are not containing the dreaded BPA ingredient and have a smaller carbon foot print.