Buying local honey is important for several reasons. Firstly, it supports local beekeepers and helps to preserve the bee population. With the ongoing decline in bee populations, it is crucial to support those who are working to maintain and protect them. According to a study by the University of California, Davis, honeybee colonies in the U.S. have declined by over 40% in the last decade. (https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/honey-bee-colonies-decline-40-percent-over-last-decade/)
Secondly, local honey is often fresher and of higher quality than honey that has been imported or mass-produced. Local beekeepers are able to harvest and sell their honey quickly, ensuring that the honey is as fresh as possible. According to a study by the Journal of Apicultural Research, Local honey has higher antioxidant activity and lower moisture content than imported honey. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00218839.2011.11101059)
Thirdly, buying local honey can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Imported honey often has to travel long distances to reach your plate, which contributes to carbon emissions. By buying local honey, you are supporting a more sustainable food system. A study by the Journal of Cleaner Production found that local honey production results in lower carbon emissions and energy consumption than imported honey. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652617318180)
However, it is important to note that a significant percentage of honey on the market is fake or adulterated. According to a study by Food Safety News, as much as 76% of honey sold in U.S. grocery stores is not actually pure honey. Instead, it is often cut with cheaper sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or rice syrup. (https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/)
These fake honeys not only cheat consumers by not providing the health benefits that pure honey offers but also can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, allergies or even honey-bee sting allergy.
In addition, consuming fake honey can have negative effects on your health. It may contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
To ensure that you are buying real honey, it is best to purchase it directly from a local beekeeper or farmer’s market. You can also look for honey that is certified as pure by organizations such as True Source Honey (https://truesourcehoney.com/) or the National Honey Board (https://www.honey.com/about-us/quality-assurance/),
check with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) (https://www.honeybee.org.au/) or the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (https://www.agriculture.gov.au/).
You can also look for honey that is certified as pure by Australian organizations such as the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) or Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity (AHBIC).
In conclusion, buying local honey not only supports local beekeepers and preserves the bee population but also ensures that you are getting a fresher and higher-quality product. However, it is important to be aware of the issue of fake honey on the market and take steps to ensure that you are purchasing pure honey. If you’re looking for local honey producers, check out https://fairfoodie.com.au/category/honey/, where you can find a variety of local honey options and support sustainable food systems.