One of the most enjoyable things about operating our hives is harvesting honey every season. Even though we're a few months away from pulling honey, it's always good to make sure you're still in compliance with the latest labeling laws.
When we first bottled our honey it was very confusing to navigate federal and state standards to ensure we were labeling our honey right. To make this easier for beekeepers, we've compiled all the state laws on honey labeling into one place, and created the interactive map below to link to the government documents.
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Not every state has specific laws on honey labeling, so they defer to the guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Beekeepers in all states still need to adhere to these standards in addition to their state regulations:
Common name: For most food labeling, the FDA lists common names to help consumers correctly identify the food. The honey label must contain the name “Honey” on the label. (403(i) of the FD&C Act and 21 CFR 101.3(b))
No other sweeteners: Beekeepers are not permitted to label a food source “honey” if it contains any other sweeteners. Doing so is even a misdemeanor in Alabama! (21 CFR 102.5(a))
Prominent: The label must be placed in a prominent and easy to find location. Letters need to be at least 1/16th of an inch in height, and contrast with the background so it is easy to read.
Contact information: The FDA requires food labels to have contact information of parties responsible for the honey. This includes the name and address of the person responsible for bottling the honey.
Net Weight: The label must contain the net weight of honey in the jar or bottle. This should be represented in fluid pounds/ounces and grams. This must be placed in the bottom 30% of the label.
There are also several suggestions for honey labels. These aren't required, but they're good ideas to help you become the brand of choice for your customers.
Flower name: You are not required by the FDA to put the name of the floral source on the label, however, if you decide to put the name of the floral source, you are required to have information to justify that this it is the main floral source. (FDA Compliance Policy Guide, section 515.300 and section 403(a)(1) of the FD&C Act)
Warning: It is a good idea to place a warning on your honey label that indicates that honey is not safe for infants to consume. This is required in a couple states, but we think this is a good practice to adopt.