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Odysea honey officially UK’s only certified ‘raw’ honey

We are proud to call our honey raw, so when our local authority’s food Trading Standards sought to ban the sale of Odysea’s honey as ‘raw’ – we had to defend our quality, award-winning product.

In February 2024, Judge Neville ruled in our favour, and our delicious honey can now carry its raw label with pride. There has been a buzz about this historic tribunal, with press coverage in the Guardian, The Grocer, and Financial Times. Read the judge’s full report here, including his now famous reference to Winnie-the-Pooh.

A sticky business

Waltham Forest’s Trading Standards body argued that we could not label our honey as raw, according to the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO) guidance. The definition of ‘raw’ was at the heart of the issue, and whether our honey had special characteristics which differentiate it from other honeys. Judge Neville championed our honey, stating that ACTSO guidance was “a shaky basis indeed” for the Trading Standard’s case, and our Limited Edition honey “would satisfy just about everyone as being raw honey.”

“We are ecstatic,” said Odysea founder Panos Manuelides. “We believed in our product, we went to court, and we were vindicated. We felt strongly that we had to make a stand for Odysea. We will not recoup the substantial legal costs, but, as a company, we place more value on our product integrity, fairness and justice. We also place more value in the community from which our honey comes which struggles to compete with industrially produced honey.”

This legal case had a huge impact on our honey production, sales, and customer relations in the course of the proceedings. We were forced to remove reference to ‘raw honey’ across all labelling print runs, online, and marketing materials. Customers were drawn into the confusion, with many people contacting  us to inquire if the honey was indeed still raw.

“Of course, the consumer has a right to understand the difference between processed honey and raw honey,” said Panos. “Which is why this ruling is so important. Our customers are keen to avoid processed foods and they identify with raw honey because of its superior flavour and nutrient profile. Clarity on the label will allow them to make an informed choice.”

Raw Honey held by producer hands
Hand Made Raw Honey


The legal case

Waltham Forest Trading Standards followed ACTSO guidelines, which ties ‘raw’ exclusively to ‘uncooked’ foods. Since Odysea honey is heated to 40 degrees, the Trading Standards argued it was not raw.

Confusingly, pasteurised mass-produced honey is heated to 70 degrees, yet ACTSO guidelines still classify it as raw. Judge Neville criticised the ACTSO guidance as “a very unhelpful document” and observed: “That distinction makes no linguistic or scientific sense.” He added, “It is difficult to see how any consumer would not be confused by this position; I certainly am.” The Judge appealed to common sense; that raw more accurately relates to being unprocessed or unrefined, or unpasteurised like raw milk. And the term therefore applied to Odysea raw honey, too.

What is raw honey?

Processed, mass-produced honey is often made from low-quality honey imported from outside the EU, which is pasturised and ultra filtered to make it runny, clear, and more amenable to the squeezy bottles that dominate supermarket shelves. Importantly, these ultra-processes also destroy the honey’s natural health properties and taste.

On the other hand, Odysea’s raw honey is gathered by an expert beekeeper, Alexandros Gousiaris, who moves his beehives from the foot of the mountains to the forest, depending on the pine, oak or wild blossom honey he hopes to harvest. It is extracted by a centrifuge, not chemical means, and allowed to settle so detritus can be removed by hand. Small batches of Limited Edition Single Source honey are filled directly into glass jars. The rest is stored, and gently warmed when Alexandros makes each raw honey blend. This handcrafted process is one of the many reasons why Great Taste judges awarded Odysea Pine & Fir Tree honey two-stars for four years running, and praised the “subtle pine and fir flavours, the perfect level of sweetness, the hint of saltiness, the sheer sexiness of this honey.”

Find out more about Odysea raw honey or get cooking with these honey-rich recipes:

Honey loaf with dukkah

Honey spiced biscuits

Honey and fig cheesecake

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