Though some of these terms have not been specifically defined, I would disagree somewhat with this:
Right now these words could mean??
Local – could be from China and sold in Texas as “Local”
It's true no one has "defined" it, but local is definitely not from China if you are in Texas. I'm sure you could sue someone for fraud for saying that. It wouldn't pay, of course.
Raw – Has no meaning
At what temperature does it cease to be raw? Again, it has not been "defined" but the concept is clear, that it is not OVERheated. No one would think that boiling it would be raw by any definition of the word.
Unheated – could be brought to a boil
Of course no one has defined how hot you can get and still call it "unheated", but it seems clear to me that "unheated" means it was NOT heated... at all. Anything else would be fraud. Is there any consumer group enforcing this? No, but it would still be fraud. You don't need a specific temperature to define unheated since it means it was not heated. You would certainly be lying and guilty of fraud if you boiled it and called it unheated.
Unfiltered – 75% of honey sold in stores has had all its pollen removed
This is probably the least well defined as everyone "filters" something out even if it's just bee legs. Some of it, of course is very finely filtered. Removing the pollen is actually the goal of most of the people filtering so the honey won't crystallize as quickly. Pollen grains act as seed for crystallization. But I'm sure anyone who was asked if it was fraud to filter all the pollen out and then say it's unfiltered would agree. The point between unfiltered and filtered may be vague but that is obviously over the line.
This brings us to knowing the people who supply your food. If you talk to the beekeeper about what they do, most will not lie to you. Labels lie all the time by their vagueness. Even if someone defined all of these terms in a reasonable manner (which I think should be done) who would enforce using them honestly? I suppose we should label more specifically, as beekeepers. Like "this honey has never been above 100 F" or "strained at x microns to allow pollen and bits of wax and propolis to remain"...
I do agree that reading a label that says it is "raw and unfiltered" doesn't mean much... but they are at least CLAIMING not to have overheated or overfiltered it, so if they did so, they are lying and that is fraud. You might have an argument whether 120 F is overheating, but no one would agree that boiling is not overheated. Someone might claim that they did not filter it and yet ran it through a 10 micron filter. But actually the honey board has defined it this way:
Macrofiltration or Particle filtration
Pore size: 10 to 1000 micrometers (µm)
• The particles being screened are visible to the naked eye.
• Examples of the particle size are: bubbles, insect parts, dust, debris, crystals.
• Typical equipment used: bag filters, cheesecloth, metallic screens, nylon mesh.
Pore size: approximately 0.1 to 10 micrometers (µm)
• The particles being screened are not visible to the naked eye.2
• Examples of the particle size are: yeast cells, red blood cells, coal dust, and some bacteria.2
• This pore size is used for sterile filtration, cell harvesting or clarification of fruit juices and in
applications where water taste is not as important, like breweries.3
However, it is the least
used because of the availability of finer membrane systems.
• It retains particles from about 200 to 1000 Å.4
Pore size: to 0.001 to 0.1 micrometers (µm) or 1,000 to 100,000 molecular weight (MW)
• Ultrafiltration is a process of separating colloidal or molecular particles by filtration, using
suction or pressure, by means of a colloidal filter or semipermeable membrane.7
• This method is only somewhat dependant upon charge of the particle and is more
concerned with the size of the particle.8
• UF membranes are useful in separating components by rejecting macromolecules.1
allowing passage of all salts through the membrane.2
• Ultrafiltration retains particle larger than 15-200 Ǻ.
Pore size: Particles in the molecular range from 0.0001 µm to 0.001 µm or 250 to 400 MW
• Nanofiltration is the newest of the major methods, serving as an intermediate between
ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis (RO) or Hyperfiltration
Pore size: Particles in the ionic range from about 0.001 micrometers (µm) and below or less than
• RO has the finest membrane size
• In reverse osmosis, the natural process of osmosis is countered by applied external
pressure. Normally, pure water would move from a region of higher concentration (such as
pure fresh water) into one of lower concentration (such as a solution of water and salt). RO
causes the water to move out of the salt solution, opposite of what would naturally occur.
I would say that Macrofiltration is the only one of their definitions that qualifies as "unfiltered".