It was 2004, the time was defined by the ‘millennium drought’. Beekeepers in all states had had a terrible time and honey supplies were really short. This was a defining moment for Steven and I and for Beechworth Honey. The season was so bad that it was clear we were not going to have enough honey to supply all our customers.
We were canvassing what options we had and it became clear that other brands were working to change the laws so imported honey could come into the country. Up until then, honey had not been allowed to be imported into Australia.
We reviewed what it would mean if we were to import honey and we honed in on the differences in how honey is produced in Australia versus how it is produced in many countries overseas. The decision for us was absolutely clear – at the time our concerns about quality, authenticity and contaminants in the imported honey were so strong that we concluded that we would not be comfortable feeding the imported honey to our children or our family. This made our decision completely clear, we decided that if we were not prepared to eat the imported honey ourselves then there was no way in good conscience that we could try to sell it to other families.
“...if we were not prepared to eat the imported honey ourselves then there was no way in good conscience that we could try to sell it to other families.”
The option we took at the time was to downsize our markets, to match the honey that had been produced. This meant voluntarily deleting some of our lines off supermarket shelves. For us safety, quality and authenticity were far more important than profits, and always will be.
In addition to quality and safety as beekeepers we also understood the fine balance of the economics of beekeeping. We knew that the flood of imported honey that was to come into Australia would cause an irreversible and negative impact on the future prosperity of beekeepers to the detriment of future food security and biodiversity. Bees are responsible for pollinating two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural production and the vast majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are dependent on bee pollination.
For us, it was evident that whilst it was always going to be possible to import honey, Australia will never be able to import pollination services. Our healthy lifestyles and abundance of nutritious foods is intrinsically linked to peoples purchases and support of 100% Australian honey.
Check the Country of Origin Label
Since 2004 we have been really strong advocates for improvements to Australia’s labelling laws. We’ve lobbied governments and informed politicians and policy makers on the need for strong and clear country of origin labels. Fortunately, in 2018 the Australian government changed the rules and all honey in Australia now has to have a Country of Origin Label.
Australian honey is the purest in the world! We encourage everyone to turn the pack over and look for the Country of Origin label. The kangaroo logo tells you the product was grown, produced or made in Australia. The bar chart indicates the percentage of Australian honey used. The text clarifies the origin, bar chart and the minimum amount of Australian honey.
What the label doesn’t tell you!
- Which country non-Australian ingredients have been imported from.
- How the non-Australian ingredients have been sourced, made or manufactured.
- Whether the ingredients have been ‘adulterated’, meaning they have been mixed with something other than nectar from bees.
Why it is important to buy Australian honey
- A healthy environment and ecosystem is reliant on bees for pollination. Australia’s honeybees pollinate 2/3rds of our agricultural production. Our food and ecosystems rely on Australia’s honeybees.
- Supporting Australian bee pollination ensures Australia’s food security and prevents the need for the mass importation of delicious fresh produce.
- Beekeeping plays a significant role within the agricultural sector. Support Australian beekeepers, their families and secure Australian jobs.
- Australian honey is 100% real, pure and natural, the way honey was intended to be!
We simply ask you to check the label before you purchase and ensure the honey you buy is 100% Australian. We all depend on it.