The purpose for irradiating honey is to control American Foulbrood Disease (AFB) which is common throughout the world and devastating to beehives as it destroys the grubs before they have a chance to develop. Very quickly the hive dies out as no new bees hatch. The disease is easily spread from hive to hive as the bees pollinate the same plants.
Honey is received in 300Lt drums, tested for antibiotics by the Department of Health and once found free of a spectrum of said antibiotics, the go ahead is given to proceed with irradiation.
The irradiation of the honey before it is used by the various industries prevents the spread of the AFB.
South Africa is the only country which legislates for the irradiation of honey as a method to control AFB.
Honey being used for medical purposes is irradiated at high doses -25kGy (for treatment of burn wounds among other applications).