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Pesticides are wiping out organic honey across America


Organic honey

(NaturalNews) If you're anything like me, the sweet, sticky goodness of a dollop of fresh honey over a slice of buttered bread is something of an American pastime. But if organic honey, free of pesticides – the way it always was back in the old days – is what you prefer, you'll have to start looking for sources outside the United States.

That's because bees in the U.S. now have almost no pure land on which to forage, thanks to widespread chemical overuse in agriculture. With the exception of a handful of remaining areas where the environment is still considered pristine, most of the places where bees would otherwise seek out nectar, are located in or close to crop fields where chemicals like Roundup (glyphosate) are sprayed regularly.

Even in "wild" areas untouched by these synthetic inputs, bees are coming into contact with tainted nectar in nearby fields, where pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are being used. Bees, after all, are willing and able to travel up to five miles, or even more in some cases, if it means finding good nectar, and there's no telling what they encounter along the way.

North Dakota is considered to be one of the last good places in North America to raise honeybees, and even here foraging areas are becoming scarce. According to Civil Eats, less than 10 percent of North Dakota's native grassland prairies remain, and in just the last 10 years, the state has lost at least 100,000 acres of grasslands to agricultural crops – primarily genetically-modified (GMO) corn and soybeans.

"It takes two million individual blossoms to produce a pound of honey," Zac Browning, owner of Browning's Honey Company in Jamestown, told Civil Eats.

This is an exceptional amount of flora needed to produce enough honey for Americans, especially considering demand for honey has increased more than twofold since the 1990s. At the same time, our nation produces only about two-thirds of the honey we did during that same time period, explaining why U.S. imports of foreign honey have more than tripled over the past 30 years.

Much of the problem is due to unprecedented declines in bee populations, which scientists believe is caused by the very same culprit that's creating the impossibility of producing truly organic honey: chemicals. Year after year, beekeepers lose upwards of 45 percent of their hives, which entomologists say is caused by the three Ps: parasites, pathogens and pesticides.

Organic standards for honey don't even exist

With the exception of a few areas in Hawaii, most of the mainland U.S. is unfit for organic honey production, experts say, which is why most organic honey comes from places like Mexico, India and Brazil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also failed in actually establishing organic standards for honey production that legally set it apart from the conventional stuff.

The USDA claims it's been working on developing finalized organic standards for honey production since 2001. But the only guidance the agency has issued since that time was a minimum 2-mile radius recommendation for organic bee foraging in 2010, which many beekeepers say is far too small based on the distances most bees travel. The USDA has yet to modify the recommendation or solidify any actual standards.

Then there's the question of whether or not the average organic honey is even legitimate, considering the fact that many imported varieties are heat-treated or otherwise processed in some way before being sold. Processing denatures the quality of honey, damaging enzymes and other nutrients that comprise its healing potential.

For a clean, non-denatured, truly organic honey product, check out The Health Ranger's Organic Bee Pollen. This product from Spain is laboratory tested to be free of chemicals, and is packed with protein, carbohydrates and an array of vitamins and minerals that support vibrant health.

Sources for this article include:

CivilEats.com

GrubStreet.com

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