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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQS


The following are the best examples and their (often very detailed) answers for the FAQs we get....

How do you get different flavours of honey?
How do you train your bees?
Is your honey Filtered / Ultra Filtered?
Is your honey Raw? Unpastuerized? Heated? Unheated? etc.
What UMF rating does your Manuka contain?

Is your honey "Active"
What does the "pollen percentage" mean on your products? 1
What does the "pollen percentage" mean on your products? 2
How can I tell if it is authentic Manuka?
Why is there a "Best Before" date on honey?
Should I keep honey in the refrigerator?

Can I use honey for treatment of Stomach Ulcers

Where Can I buy your product in the US?
Is our Honey Gluten Free? - Yes our Honey IS Gluten Free.
How long do bees live / much honey do they make etc?


What does the "pollen percentage" mean on your products?
Q. > Please advise me the exact meaning of pollen % in honey. Are there any
> pollen grains inside honey? Actually honey is made from pollen. What
> is the difference of eating pollen and honey? I cannot buy pollen
> recently –whether it is seasonal or due to other reasons.

A. Honey naturally contains pollen from the nectar of the plants that it is collected from.  This pollen falls into the nectar at the flower and this nectar, complete with pollen, is collected by bees and taken back to the hive and made into honey.  This honey's source can therefore be identified by the pollen it contains.

The percentage of pollen we print on our labels is our guarantee to you that the batch you have purchased meets and exceeds the amount of pollen required to identify that particular type of honey.  We do this because most companies do not measure this factor and are therefore not always able to guarantee the label claims made by them.

Pollen is also collected separately by bees that use this as a protein source (while the nectar is bees' source of energy).  Some beekeepers trap this pollen with a device the takes the pollen from the bees as they enter the hive.   It is this material that is sold as pollen for consumption.  It is separate from honey and is neither derived from honey or honey derived from pollen.

We don't sell pollen and so cannot offer an explanation as to why you are unable to buy pollen at this time.

What does the "pollen percentage" mean on your products? Answer 2

Q.> Could you please supply some information on Airborne Manuka Honey?
>
> In particular I'd like to know the significance of the content of
> Pollen you list on the label, the percentage changes with different
> batches and I can understand this.I presume that the higher the pollen
> content, the more beneficial the honey is in some way, perhaps you could
> explain more?

A. Pollen in honey is used as a tool to identify the honey source. Pollen
from a target flower species will get into the flower nectar that is
collected by bees and turned into honey. This pollen can be counted and
identified and the total count plus the percentage of the target species
is used in identification of the honey type. You can read more detail on
pollen analysis for honey identification on our website here:
http://www.airborne.co.nz/monfloralhoneydef.shtml#Pollen_Analysis

We print the percentage of manuka pollen on the label. The reason the
pollen percentage varies is that honey is a natural variable product and
each batch we produce will be slightly different to the previous batch.

We print the pollen content on the side of the jar to show to the consumer
that we have a process in place which monitors and controls the quality of
our products and by buying a product that has this information clearly
displayed one can assure themselves that they are buying a quality product
- one that meets or exceeds the minimum levels required (70% in the case
of manuka).

This is particularly relevent when buying manuka because it is so much
more expensive than most other honeys. Without some form of quality
measure, there is no guarantee that the product is what it claims to be.

We are the only honey company in New Zealand that has its own laboratory
for this purpose. The benefits of this came to light last year when the
TV program "Target" surveyed manuka honey. Our manuka was measured with
a manuka pollen percentage of 88% (the only product measured with more
than the 70% minimum) while the two largest selling brands, "Comvita" and
"Arataki" measured 33% each.

If you have any further queries, please ask.

Best regards,
Peter Bray

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What UMF rating does your Manuka contain?

Q. Can you tell me what the UMF is for the Manuka Health honey?

A. "UMF" is a registered trademark in New Zealand.  This trademark is owned by a group of honey producers and marketers in New Zealand. 
We have a detailed explanation of the meaning of these letters and antibacterial manuka honey on our web site.  The direct address to the page with the detail (our manuka page) is:
www.airborne.co.nz/manuka.shtml 
The information on this page will help to explain much of the following.
The "UMF" rating is considered to be Non Peroxide Antibacterial activity (NPA) It is defined as _any_ antibacterial activity that is found to be present after the sample has been treated with the enzyme catalase to remove hydrogen peroxide. 

Hydrogen peroxide is the substance that is responsible for the majority of antibacterial activity in honey.
We do not use the UMF trademark or promote our honeys using this system.  Our AAH honeys are selected on the basis of their hydrogen peroxide activity and their antioxidant activity.


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Is your honey "Active"

Q. > I recently purchased a bottle of Airborne Manuka honey and would like
> to know if there is "Active" Manuka in the honey.  If not, do you make
>  a honey that has the Active Manuka" associated with antibacterial
> properties?  I would appreciate hearing from you at your earliest
> convenience

A. We produce our floral manuka honeys with quality and flavour the utmost importance.   To that end we use a number of key parameters to measure if it is in fact manuka.  One of the key ones is pollen percentage, which is why we print this value on the side of every jar for each batch.  Many companies do not do this and do not pay attention to ensuring that it is actually manuka honey by international definition.

Many companies are selling "UMF" manuka honey. 

"UMF" is a registered trademark in New Zealand.  This trademark is owned by a group of honey producers and marketers in New Zealand. 

We have a detailed explanation of the meaning of these letters and antibacterial manuka honey on our web site.  The direct address to the page with the detail (our manuka page) is:

www.airborne.co.nz/manuka.shtml

The "UMF" rating is considered to be non peroxide antibacterial activity (NPA) i.e. it is any antibacterial activity that is found to be present after the sample has been treated with the enzyme catalase to remove hydrogen peroxide.

We do not use the UMF trademark or promote our honeys using this system as we have found significant variance with it.

We have also measured our manuka honeys for Peroxide Activity (PA - see web link above) and found that they are consistently very high compared to other honeys.

If you have any further queries, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Peter Bray

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Manuka Authenticity
Peter - thanks very much for the wealth of information!

Jonathan

Jonathan Haché
(613) 759-1218 | hachej AT inspection.gc.ca | Facsimile / Télécopieur : (613)
759-1260 Chemist, Ottawa Laboratory (Carling), Canadian Food Inspection
Agency Chimiste, Laboratoire d'Ottawa (Carling), Agence canadienne
d'inspection des aliments 960 Carling Ave, bldg 22 | 960, avenue Carling,
bldg 22 Ottawa ON K1A 0C6 Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada
www.inspection.gc.ca

>>> <Peter@airborne.co.nz> 2008/07/18 12:51:44 am >>>

Dear Jonathan,

Q. > I am a chemist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I was
> hoping to find some information on the composition of manuka honey, and
> some parameters that would help authenticate this product. Recently we
> have had a trade complaint where the complainant believes a product
> claiming to be manuka is not. Any information you can provide would be
> helpful. Thank you.

A. We use the Codex Alimentarius standard for honey and its specific clause
for labelling according to a particular named floral source as follows.
~~~~~~~~
Section 6 Labelling Section 6.1 The Name of the Food Subsection
6.1.6 Honey may be designated according to floral or plant source if it
comes wholly or mainly from that particular source and has the
organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic properties corresponding
with that origin.

6.1.7 Where honey has been designated according to floral or plant source
(6.1.6) then the common name or the botanical name of the floral source
shall be in close proximity to the word "honey".
~~~~~~~~
On our manuka page http://www.airborne.co.nz/manuka.shtml you will see
that "manuka" is a common name, not a botanical name, and it therefore
encompasses two closely related plants with quite similar flavour, colour,
microscopic (pollen) and organoleptic properties.

This reference paper on our website :
http://www.airborne.co.nz/images/technical/panz.pdf
lays out the minimum level of manuka pollen required to call a honey
manuka (70%). While this parameter is typically the most important
indicator, it needs to be assessed in conjunction with the other routinely
measured characteristics of manuka honey. These are:

Total pollen: average of 517,000 pollen grains per 10 grams of honey s.d.
280,000
Colour 84mm on the Pfund scale s.d. 11.8
Conductivity average 0.58 s.d. 0.15 mS/cm
Glucose average 29.8% s.d. 2.53
Fructose average 38.3% s.d. 2.04
Sucrose average 0.1% s.d. 0.24%

These numbers are from measurements in our laboratory and have not been
published or peer reviewed but are well accepted here in New Zealand. The
number of measurements ranges from over 400 for sugars to 2,300
measurements for colour.

Manuka honey should also show some thixotropicity (slightly jellied like
nature) in a liquid form. If it is in a creamed form (most usual form of
presentation) it must be liquefied and left to stand for some time in
order to allow any thixotropicity to manifest.

HMF should also be measured. Manuka honey is often heated more than other
honey types. This is due firstly to its thixotropicity making it
difficult to strain and pump at usual temperatures, and secondly there is
some anecdotal evidence that the Non Peroxide antibacterial activity for
which manuka is sought after is increased with heating. This heating in
turn increases the colour and therefore HMF should be measured to
ascertain if the colour of the product may have changed due to heating.
We have seen cases where very light honeys have been turned into extremely
dark honeys (and then falsely labelled as manuka) with extreme heating
producing HMF levels of over 1,000 mg/kg and levels over 40 mg/kg being
more common than they should be. If a manuka honey is darker than
expected i.e. over 110mm it may be due to over heating. While this may be
a quality problem in itself, it does not constitute misrepresentation.
See our HMF page for further information.
http://www.airborne.co.nz/shmf.html

For methods and further background, see:

Harmonized methods of melissopalynology
Werner VON DER OHEa*, Livia PERSANO ODDOb, Maria Lucia PIANAb,
Monique MORLOTc, Peter MARTIN

HARMONISED METHODS OF THE INTERNATIONAL HONEY COMMISSION
IHC responsible for the methods:
Stefan Bogdanov
Swiss Bee Research Centre
FAM, Liebefeld, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland

For pollen person in North America see:

Pollen Contents of Honey
by Vaughn M. Bryant, Jr
Palynology Laboratory, Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas, USA

If you have any queries, feel free to come back to me.

Best regards,
Peter Bray


>
> Jonathan Haché
> (613) 759-1218 | hachej AT inspection.gc.ca | Facsimile / Télécopieur :
> (613) 759-1260 Chemist, Ottawa Laboratory (Carling), Canadian Food
> Inspection Agency Chimiste, Laboratoire d'Ottawa (Carling), Agence
> canadienne d'inspection des aliments 960 Carling Ave, bldg 22 | 960,
> avenue Carling, bldg 22 Ottawa ON K1A 0C6 Government of Canada |
> Gouvernement du Canada www.inspection.gc.ca



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Is your honey Raw? Unpastuerized? Heated? Unheated?

Q. > I would be grateful if you could inform me if your honey
> isunpasteurised ? I need honey that
> has not been treated with heat.
>
> I have purchased 2 kinds of your honey:Clover (batch no: 074431) and
> creamed (074151)
> As it is for therapeutic use this information is very important for
> myself and others.
>
> If it has been, do you have in your range, raw/unpasteurised honey ?
> If so, what do I look for on
> the label and where can I find it?

A. Read below for explanations on all our creamed and all our liquid honeys.

"Raw"/Unpasteurised Honey.

There is no standard for "Raw" honey.  This term is used by marketers to achieve sales, but has no definition and perceptions of what is raw varies from place to place and person to person. E.g.  "Raw" as in a rough raw state, raw material etc. or "Raw" as in uncooked?   If uncooked, what temperatures over what time?  What heat related quality indicators?  If a Raw state, is this crystallized, unfiltered, unstrained? 

Heating.

The most important concept to understand is that heat damage to honey is a temperature by *time* relationship.  i.e. it takes time for damage to occur.  Long times (months) at relatively low temperatures (25-30°C) produce heating changes/damage many times greater than that of higher temperatures (50-80°C) for short times (a few minutes).


For more information on heating of honey, have a read on this page we have relating to processing of honey. 
www.airborne.co.nz/processing.shtml

At Airborne, we keep heating to an absolute minimum, but there are processes that do require the honey to be raised to a temperature sufficient for those processes to take place.

Firstly honey supplied to us by beekeepers comes as a crystallized product in 300 kilogram drums. This is how all honey is supplied World wide due to natural honey's tendency to crystallize.  This honey has to be reliquefied simply to remove it from the drums and strain it. We have developed a unique patented system for doing this which we believe produces the best results of any system we know of. i.e. lowest temperatures, greatest retention of flavours, enzymes etc. 

Next, honey has to be strained to remove insect parts (bees legs etc.) and wax particles left over from the extracting process. We strain through a 200 micron mesh (0.2mm) which takes out visible impurities but leaves pollen (most pollen is less then 50 microns).  Our products retain all their pollen and have levels of 100,000 to 500,000 pollen grains per 10 grams of honey   We strain immediately after liquefying the honey from the drums, thus eliminating the need for additional heating.  This happens at around 45-50°C.  As a point of comparison beehives may reach temperatures over 40°C during honey production (recorded by temperature data logger).

If the honey is to be produced as creamed honey (finely crystallized honey), then there is no further application of heat, only cooling down to 10°C where the natural crystallization takes place.

If the honey is to be packed as liquid honey, then it is quickly heated to 75°C for 3 minutes then rapidly cooled to around 45°C to completely dissolve any remaining crystals that may act as a nucleus for recrystallization to take place. The outcome of this recystallization is often seen on the honey shelves where liquid honey can be seen with a "frosting" like appearance as it starts to crystallize. 

If heat is a concern to you, then read our enzymes and HMF pages on our website for an understanding of these.

http://www.airborne.co.nz/enzymes.shtml
http://www.airborne.co.nz/HMF.shtml

Most of our products leave our factory with less than 5mg/kg of HMF.  As you will see from the table on the HMF page, this is far less than the 30mg/kg achieved after around 6 months at 30°C.

I hope this helps.  If you have any further queries, please ask. 

Best regards,
Peter Bray


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Hi Rosanna,
 
Q. > I was wondering if your Airborne Honey is rawunpasturised honey.

> If so, is it available in and Supermarkets in Invercargill.

"Raw" Honey.

A. There is no standard for "Raw" honey.  This term is used by marketers to achieve sales, but has no definition and perceptions of what is raw varies from place to place and person to person. E.g.  "Raw" as in a rough raw state, raw material etc. or "Raw" as in uncooked?   If uncooked, what temperatures over what time?  What heat related quality indicators?  If a Raw state, is this crystallized, unfiltered, unstrained? 

Heating.

The most important concept to understand is that heat damage to honey is a temperature by *time* relationship.  i.e. it takes time for damage to occur.  Long times (months) at relatively low temperatures (25-30°C) produce heating changes/damage many times greater than that of higher temperatures (50-80°C) for short times (a few minutes).

For more information on heating of honey, have a read on this page we have relating to processing of honey. 
www.airborne.co.nz/processing.shtml 

At Airborne, we keep heating to an absolute minimum, but there are processes that do require the honey to be raised to a temperature sufficient for those processes to take place.

Firstly honey supplied to us by beekeepers comes as a crystallized product in 300 kilogram drums. This is how all honey is supplied World wide due to natural honey's tendency to crystallize.  This honey has to be reliquefied simply to remove it from the drums and strain it. We have developed a unique patented system for doing this which we believe produces the best results of any system we know of. i.e. lowest temperatures, greatest retention of flavours, enzymes etc. 

Next, honey has to be strained to remove insect parts (bees legs etc.) and wax particles left over from the extracting process. We strain through a 200 micron mesh (0.2mm) which takes out visible impurities but leaves pollen (most pollen is less then 50 microns).  Our products retain all their pollen and have levels of 100,000 to 500,000 pollen grains per 10 grams of honey   We strain immediately after liquefying the honey from the drums, thus eliminating the need for additional heating.  This happens at around 45-50°C.  As a point of comparison beehives reach temperatures over 40°C during honey production.

If the honey is to be produced as creamed honey (finely crystallized honey), then there is no further application of heat, only cooling down to 10°C where the natural crystallization takes place.

If the honey is to be packed as liquid honey, then it is quickly heated to 75°C for 3 minutes then rapidly cooled to around 45°C to completely dissolve any remaining crystals that may act as a nucleus for recrystallization to take place. The outcome of this recystallization is often seen on the honey shelves where liquid honey can be seen with a "frosting" like appearance as it starts to crystallize. 

If heat is a concern to you, then read our enzymes and HMF pages on our website for an understanding of these.

http://www.airborne.co.nz/enzymes.shtml
http://www.airborne.co.nz/HMF.shtml

Most of our products leave our factory with less than 5mg/kg of HMF.  As you will see from the table on the HMF page, this is far less than the 30mg/kg achieved after around 6 months at 30°C.

You should be able to purchase our products at Countdown and New World stores in Invercargill.  If you have difficulty in finding any, please come back to us and we will locate a store that has product.

I hope this helps.  If you have any further queries, please ask. 


Best regards,
Peter Bray


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Q. > Good Day,
> I reside in Toronto Canada and I am a user of Ariborne Honey.
> Can you please provide me with the following information regarding
> the processing methods employed in Airborne honey:
>
> 1.     From the beehive to the jar (in which it is marketed) what all
> processing is involved? Or this honey is simply filtered though some
> arrangement before bottling?
>
> 2.    Any Flash-heating methods employed to process this honey?
>
> 3.    Are there any of Airborne products which are totally not
> processed and how can they be purchased?
>
> Thanks very much.
>
> Aziz S. Islam


A. Dear Aziz,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The most important concept to understand is that heat damage to honey is a temperature by *time* relationship.  i.e. it takes time for damage to occur.  Long times (months) at relatively low temperatures (25-30°C) produce heating changes/damage many times greater than that of higher temperatures (50-80°C) for short times (a few minutes).

For more information on heating of honey, have a read on this page we have relating to processing of honey. 
www.airborne.co.nz/processing.shtml 

At Airborne, we keep heating to an absolute minimum, but there are processes that do require the honey to be raised to a temperature sufficient for those processes to take place.

Firstly honey supplied to us by beekeepers comes as a crystallized product in 300 kilogram drums. This is how all honey is supplied World wide due to natural honey's tendency to crystallize.  This honey has to be reliquefied before further processing can take place.  We have developed a unique patented system for doing this which we believe produces the best results of any system we know of. i.e. lowest temperatures, greatest retention of flavours, enzymes etc. 

Next, honey has to be strained to remove insect parts (bees legs etc.) and wax particles left over from the extracting process. We do this immediately after liquefying the honey from the drums, thus eliminating the need for additional heating.  This happens at around 45-50°C

If the honey is to be produced as creamed honey, then there is no further application of heat, only cooling down to 10°C where the natural crystallization takes place.

If the honey is to be packed as liquid honey, then it is quickly heated to 75°C for 3 minutes to completely dissolve any remaining crystals that may act as a nucleus for recrystallization to take place  The outcome of this recystallization is often seen on the honey shelves where liquid honey can be seen with a "frosting" like appearance as it starts to crystallize. 

If heat is a concern to you, then read our enzymes and HMF pages on our website for an understanding of these.

http://www.airborne.co.nz/enzymes.shtml
http://www.airborne.co.nz/HMF.shtml

Most of our products leave our factory with less than 5mg/kg of HMF.  As you will see from the table on the HMF page, this is far less than the 30mg/kg achieved after around 6 months at 30°C.

I hope this helps.  If you have any further queries, please ask. 

Best regards,
Peter Bray


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br> Why is there a "Best Before" date on honey?

Q. > Hi
> I understand that honey found in the tombs of the pharohs was good
> enough to eat.  I also understand that 'pure honey' cannot spoil or
> 'go off'.  I was told that you can tell if honey is 'pure' because it 
> wont have a 'sell by' or 'best before' date.
>
> Your product claims to be '100% pure honey' yet has a 'best before'
> date.  Why?
> Regards
> Julian White

A. Hi Julian,
Yes honey is safe to eat for many years - not sure about the pharoh's food, but I have certainly consumed honey that was over 15 years old with no concerns... i.e. significantly more than the best before times frames on our products :-)

Why a best before date?  I guess it is a sign of the times. Consumers, with government/bureaucrat "guidance" expect absolute food safety and this produces a raft of regulations and "guidelines" from our regulators on such things as "best before" and "use by" dates.   We in turn then get questions about the best before date of our products, so bowing to our customers' concerns, we have a "best before" date on our products.

If you have any other queries, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Peter Bray


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Should I keep honey in the refrigerator?

Q. should jar be kept in fridge after opening/


A. Liquid honey will crystallize faster in the refrigerator than at ambient room temperatures (20°C) but some people consume it fast enough that this is not an issue, and if you want to get more on your toast and not have it run all over the place, the refrigerator is the way to go!
Creamed honey will be firmer if kept in the refrigerator and may be too hard or firm.  Store where you get the best results for firmness.
There are no food safety issues relating to the temperature honey is stored at.
Best regards,
Peter Bray


Can I use honey for treatment of Stomach Ulcers

Q. > Dear Airborne,
> Would you advise me on the best manuka honey to control 'acidity' in the
> stomache please.
> Thanking you.
> Patricia Caske

 

A. Dear Patricia,
Thank you for your question on manuka honey.
To our knowledge there is no known effect of any honey that would be considered a "control" for stomach acidity.

There is published research that does show that some manuka honey will inhibit several species/strains of bacteria in the laboratory, including Helicobacter pylori, the bacterial species shown to be a significant cause of stomach ulcers.

However there have been at least two clinical trials using manuka to treat stomach ulcers that failed to prove any beneficial effect.
Sorry we cannot be more help.

If you have any other queries, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Peter Bray


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How long do bees live / much honey do they make etc

Bees will live around 6 weeks in the honey season and up to 6 months in the winter months. Queen bees will live up to 6years but normally around 2-3 years.

A worker bee will produce about 5gms of honey in its life. All workers are females.

From the book "Honey" by Eva Crane
"The performance of bees is truly astonishing. The fuel consumption of a flying bee is about ½ mg honey per kilometre, or 3 million kilometres to the litre. In providing one kilogram of surplus honey for market, the colony has had to consume something like a further 8 kg to keep itself going, and the foraging has probably covered a total flight path equal to 6 orbits of the earth - at a a fuel consumption of about 25g of honey for each orbit. In English units this means about 7 million miles to the gallon, a pound of honey on the breakfast table necessitates a total flight path equivalent to 3 orbits around the the earth, each orbit using up an ounce of honey as fuel."

Calculating from above, the circumference of the earth is about 40,000 klms, or 240,000 klms (6 orbits) to produce a surplus of 1 kg of honey over and above the fuel used (150gms).
A bee will produce around 5 gms (approx 1 teaspoon) or 0.005kgs in a lifetime (around 6 weeks in the production season),  so using the above figures it will have flown 0.005 X 240,000 klm or 1,200 klms.

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