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I'm wondering what is the definition of "unfiltered" honey (or at least the popular opinion)? I understand that truly "filtered" honey, produced on a commercial scale, is heated and passed through a very fine filter under pressure.

I produce "raw" honey that passes through a double sieve out of the extractor into a bucket- that's it. I don't believe the gauge of the strainer I use is even close to pollen size. Would you consider my honey to be "unfiltered"?

Other honey I've seen on the market labeled as "raw & unfiltered" potentially has wax and bee parts floating in it; mine does not. Do you think that is necessary to see that "evidence" in the jar to call it unfiltered?

I guess my real question is- at what point is it "filtered" and no longer just "strained"?

-Dan
 

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If you are selling your honey as pure honey then there should be no foreign objects in the honey. Bee parts, bits of wood from frames, pieces of grass, bits of smoker fuel, sand, hair from bee brush and bees wax should not be in the honey. In Canada If you sell through retail outlets you have to specify a grade and color the to meet the grade of #1 the moisture level must be below a set point and the honey must be screened thru the proper mesh size for the grade and the taste should be in line as what is expected.
If you want to offer an additional choice to your customers sell chunk honey made by placing pieces of caped honeycomb (usually 3 pieces) in a short wide mouth jar and then filling the jar with filtered honey. You can sell these as a specialty item at a premium price. The less debris and air bubles in your honey the brighter it will look and the more attractively it will display.
 

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If you want to be a real stickler about the word "filtered" you could say that passing the honey through windw screening is also filtration. I doubt that most beeks would go that far though.
However, if you really want to be a purist with that term, you could do absolutely no filtration and just let the honey sit for several days. Just about all impurities (wood, wax, propolis, bee parts, air bubbles, etc) will rise to the top and can then be scraped off and removed. The honey beneath will truly be 100% "unfiltered" yet still be clean and clear.
 

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Dan, straining does not remove all the debris, settling removes more. When you think it is clear enter three jars in a honey judging and they will tell you what is still in there.
People that are looking for raw natural honey expect to get pollen, some wax and debris from the hive in honey.
A spoonful of honey might make the medicine go down more easily, but the sweet
substance produced by bees seems to constantly be the center of controversy. Now
honey is the subject of 14 lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers in Florida
and California. At the heart of the lawsuits is the question: Is honey still
honey if it contains no pollen? (Palm Beach Post)
 

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I think the term 'filtered' does mean the super filtering and heating process used by some commercial outfits. It's being accused that part of the reason for doing this is so that the govt cannot pinpoint the 'honey' as being from a particular point of origin (China for example)- When there is no pollen in it, you cannot pinpoint the origin. When it's heated, it delays crystallization as well.

You'd probably be just fine in labeling your honey as 'raw unfiltered' if you just generally strain it through a cheesecloth to remove bee legs and chunks of stuff and as long as you are not heating it too. If you want to be real picky just label it 'raw, lightly strained'.
 

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You might also want to check with you state apiarist, each state has their own laws governing how honey is to be labeled that is for sale.
 
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