Canada no.3 vs Canada no.1

We have found this debate with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to be frustrating and, in all honesty, ridiculous.  With this explanation, we hope consumers will see that being “no. 3” is actually a good thing as we offer a completely unique, unaltered product – a honey that is better tasting, better looking, better consistency, and just plain better for you.

Honey is basically graded on its color, moisture and filtration. When the CFIA grades Gramma Bees Honey, we meet Canada No.1 standards for both color and moisture but we classify as Canada No.3 for filtration (because we don’t filter).  We cannot have 2 grading’s on our container so by default we become a Canada No.3 classification. We feel that this grading system is misleading and backwards as our truly raw, unfiltered honey has a “lower” rating then a heated, filtered product.

When we first started packing our honey we noticed that every other brand was classified as Canada No.1 while still claiming to be both raw and/or pure, so we classified our honey as Canada No. 1 as well. Soon after, someone filed a complaint through the CFIA, saying that the “raw, unfiltered and straight from the hive” statement that was on our label was false because unfiltered honey does not fit the Canada No.1 standard. Technically this was true, as we do not heat or filter our honey. 

  • Better Tasting

  • Better Looking

  • Better Consistency

  • Better For You

So, let’s talk about filtration.

The CFIA grades honey on the end product alone and does not account for processing practices.  For filtration, the CFIA states that Canada No. 1 honey needs to flow through an 80 grid mess filter. The inspectors will take a finished product , mix it with warm water to form a liquid, pour the liquid through an 80 grid mesh screen and, if there are no particles left on the mesh, it is graded Canada No.1 for filtration. The only way for any honey (even a raw honey) to flow through this mesh screen and leave no particles behind is if it has been pre-heated and pre-filtered during processing. Gramma Bees Honey refuses to heat at any point during our process and therefore our honey does not and cannot meet Canada No.1 filtration standards. We would argue, then, that any Canada No.1 honey on the shelf should not be claiming that they are raw when they have all heated their product in order to meet the filtering standards. We believe that when honey is heated it degrades it from its “raw” status.

As you can tell, this is a sensitive subject for us. We have worked very hard to produce an amazing, actually raw honey and we believe that we deserve credit for it, not a “lower” grading.  We have had many conversations (to no avail) with the CFIA about changing their grading system or adding a “raw” grade. We have reached out to both the Alberta Bee Association and The Canadian Honey Council to ask if they would be willing to help us change the grading system and so far they have not been interested.

So, until “raw” becomes a recognized CFIA grade, Gramma Bee’s Honey will continue to sell the world’s best Canada No.3 honey; the only truly raw, truly unheated and truly unfiltered product on the shelf!