Reading Your Honey Label

In Ontario, honey offered for sale must have key information printed on labels.  Honey bought directly on farms is exempt from some rules, but anything available at markets, stores, or online must include the following:

INGREDIENTS LIST:   This is printed clearly as “HONEY – MIEL” (miel is the French translation).  Any additions to the honey such as spices, pollen, or fruit must be listed as well. 

GRADING:  Packers must grade their honey in line with specific definitions provided by the province (or nationally if their honey is graded as “CANADA No. 1”).  Honey bottled and sold only in Ontario will indicate the grade as ONTARIO No. 1, 2, or 3.   The grading system is based on several factors including moisture content, clarity, filtration, and quality of taste.  

Grading can be confusing to customers as the many factors do not work well together to describe overall quality or taste of the product.  For example, Ontario No. 1 honey is fine filtered and may be heated prolong its liquid state which means it loses some of the pollen and beneficial enzymes contained in natural honey.  Raw Honey is honey that is bottled from the hive without filtration or heating above hive temperatures, and thus should always be listed as ONTARIO No. 2 – but can still have the moisture content, flavour, and quality of a top line honey. 

Most Tiddley Bee honey is graded as No. 2 as we do not fine filter or heat our honey above hive temperatures in order to preserve its taste and healthy properties.  

ORIGIN:  Ontario graded honey that includes honey from other provinces must state the places of origin on the label.   Tiddley Bee only sells honey from our own hives in and around Port Colborne.

COLOUR:  Ontario uses a colour scale to further classify honey.   It ranges from White to Golden to Amber to Dark.  The colour of honey is mostly decided by the nectar sources the bees forage from.  Clover produces a very light-coloured honey, while golden rod, can produce a golden or amber colour.   Dark honey is often associated in Ontario with nectar from buckwheat.  

SIZE:  Honey for sale in Ontario is only allowed to be sold in certain size containers and is always sold by weight.   

PASTEURIZATION:  Honey that is pasteurized must be indicated on the label.  Pasteurization uses high heat in its process which damages the positive qualities of honey.  It is often used to prevent crystallization.  Tiddley Bee does not pasteurize out honey. 

NUTRITION: All Ontario honey is jars larger than 250g must have nutritional information available. 

Published by Chris R. - Beekeeper

The blog and site of Christopher R.

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