Last year, I visited the nursery we had been using for some of our non-native plants. I went on an off day, and was surprised to see enormous, billowing clouds of pesticides being sprayed over the 35 acre nursery. An education in and of itself: for all my care in picking the plants and not using pesticides ourselves, I’d known little about the industry practices of nurseries.
That’s a story for another time, though: what I also saw across the street from the nursery was an organic beekeeping/honey business. I thought, how could they possibly know if their bees aren’t dipping into those pesticides? How do you figure out if honey is organic, anyway?
I’ve been meaning to round up some links on this, and here are a few. The short answer is, organic labels you see on US honey are unregulated. Some follow EU standards (one of the EU requirements is that the surrounding miles around a honeybee hive are pesticide free), but some follow USDA organic standards for livestock (which doesn’t make much sense). Organic standards on imports are based on the country of origin.
And the USDA site: http://goo.gl/mCVNp