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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,311

    Default State Laws Regulating Honey Harvesting/Bottling

    Does anybody live in a state that has any type of exemption from regular health dept. regulation for the production of honey? I'm looking for laws that, for example, exempt honey producers from requirements to bottle products in inspected kitchens, particular for hobbiest/sideline beekeepers. It seems like there ought to be exceptions, given that honey itself kills germs.

    If I could find an example, I intend to start pestering legislators here in Oklahoma.

    Thanks,

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    434

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    mn and wisco have no laws pertaining to honey house.

    ask them to show you the dead bodies from honey food poisoning@!

    FWIW most states and the FDA have zero to no one looking or enforcing these kinds of ridiculous laws. just bottle it and sell it and play stupid if they ever asked....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, Georgia
    Posts
    484

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    In Michigan your honey house has to meet kitchen standards. They compare us to cider mills and maple syrup places. We need a 3 bay sink and we're supposed to clean everything everyday. I haven't figured out how to fit a barrel into a sink. I also don't understand why everything has to be stainless steel and then we can put honey in an old barrel.
    I am holding on to the hope I have inside... Kutless

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

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    the last time I looked there was an exception to the food packaging laws in texas. this basically comes down to... if you do not process food and you then sell this from the back of your pickup no health certificate is required. if you sell product in a store then a permit is required from the state health department.

  5. #5

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    Ga is similar to TX. For 'casual sales' an inspected honey house isn't needed. Casual sales are sales to friends, family, local farmer's markets and at local festivals. Otherwise a GA Department of Ag approved honey processing house is required.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
    Posts
    2,267

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    In Oklahoma if you want to sell it at a farmer's market or a store you have to have meet health standards. Three compartment sink, washable walls, etc.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,311

    Default

    Magnet-Man hit the nail on the head. And they really do go around and check the Farmers Markets, and the Farmers Markets know they will be checked and they check you out first. Basically, the only way to sell honey here is on a totally informal basis, person-to-person.

    That does not preven all the sideliner types from selling out, but it is a pain for beekeepers and it's stupid. I just need some type of statute/regulation to follow as a guide and to talk to my State Rep. I'd like to be able to say "See this is a good idea, and they are already doing it this way in 8 states."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    933

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Ga is similar to TX. For 'casual sales' an inspected honey house isn't needed. Casual sales are sales to friends, family, local farmer's markets and at local festivals. Otherwise a GA Department of Ag approved honey processing house is required.
    The inspector in this area of GA claims that ANY sales outside of your home requires an inspected honey house including local markets and festivals -- regardless of volume.

    I have heard that they will enforce this by attending markets and checking for inspection records. If none exists, you get a warning the 1st time and a fine the 2nd.

    It can be a pain to pass an inspection. The normal stuff like washable walls, covered light fixtures, and label inspections weren't difficult. They initially wanted me to have 3 separate sinks -- one for food contact items like utensils, one for mopping, and one for hand washing. They did eventually let me get by with a large 3 compartment restaurant style sink.

    I wanted to just let the waste water run through a long pipe downhill into the woods (wash and rinse water only -- no toilets). The inspector reacted like it was nuclear waste. I ended up having to install an under-sink grey water pump ($250) and pump it up to my house to tie it in to my house drain and septic system. What a pain.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Russellville, Alabama
    Posts
    112

    Default

    Any one here know about the laws in Alabama?
    Michael
    2nd year beek, 3 hives!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaSteve View Post
    The inspector in this area of GA claims that ANY sales outside of your home requires an inspected honey house including local markets and festivals -- regardless of volume.
    John Rudeseal from the GA Dept of Ag spoke a few years ago at at GBA meeting and the notes I took at the time are what I quoted.
    Quote Originally Posted by GaSteve View Post
    They initially wanted me to have 3 separate sinks -- one for food contact items like utensils, one for mopping, and one for hand washing. They did eventually let me get by with a large 3 compartment restaurant style sink.
    The Dept of Ag folks who I spoke with on the phone tried the same thing with me. I had a written copy of the requirements....they only specify a 2 compartment sink. I told them I built the house to the written specs and asked them to send out the inspector. He was perfectly happy with it.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    933

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    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    John Rudeseal from the GA Dept of Ag spoke a few years ago at at GBA meeting and the notes I took at the time are what I quoted.
    Interesting. It may be a case of different inspectors interpreting the rules differently. I believe these are the same folks who inspect restaurants and they probably concentrate their efforts where the highest health risk is. Honey bottling should be at the bottom of that list.

    A point I forgot to make about label inspections -- make sure you have weights in metric and english and don't forget the actual words "Net Wt." which I did. And you need two ways of being contacted. Address, phone, email, etc.

    He also mentioned at some point collecting some sample jars to check not only for fill weight but also for adulteration (i.e. corn syrup) and pesticide contamination.

    Has anyone heard anything more about this?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaSteve View Post
    He also mentioned at some point collecting some sample jars to check not only for fill weight but also for adulteration (i.e. corn syrup) and pesticide contamination.
    Has anyone heard anything more about this?
    The inspector checked me out about a month ago and didn't mention anything. I'm going to be pretty surprised if they did. With the economy in its present shape and tax revenues in the tank I'm betting that there's going to be a load of cuts....and I can't imagine them adding this kind of overhead.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Larson, Wisconsin
    Posts
    67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    mn and wisco have no laws pertaining to honey house.

    ask them to show you the dead bodies from honey food poisoning@!

    FWIW most states and the FDA have zero to no one looking or enforcing these kinds of ridiculous laws. just bottle it and sell it and play stupid if they ever asked....
    BUD.... hate to give you bad news, but Wisconsin does have laws for honey sales and honey houses. See the link
    http://www.hort.wisc.edu/freshveg/Po...ue%20Added.ppt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, Georgia
    Posts
    484

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superdog View Post
    BUD.... hate to give you bad news, but Wisconsin does have laws for honey sales and honey houses. See the link
    http://www.hort.wisc.edu/freshveg/Po...ue%20Added.ppt
    according to your link honey is exempt.
    I am holding on to the hope I have inside... Kutless

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Campobello, SC, USA
    Posts
    195

    Default

    I found this somewhere and saved it in a file, couldn't post a link because I don't remember were I found it. (Does everyone around here have a honeyhouse built? If so, do you have any details, could one of those wooden storage buildings be made into a honey house and pass inspection?

    March 31, 2006
    Dear Beekeepers,
    In response to some of the questions I have recently received, I have
    written this letter to try and explain our laws and regulations. The state of S.C.
    does not allow any food items for public sale to be manufactured in a home
    kitchen or other NON-APPROVED facility. Any process where exposed food is
    mixed, repacked, packaged and/or cooked is considered food preparation and
    falls under SCDA/FDA jurisdiction.
    Any product that is manufactured in a non-approved facility (such as a
    home kitchen) will be considered adulterated and removed from public sale. Any
    product mislabeled will be considered adulterate and removed from public sale.
    What is public sale?
    If you sell your product at a flea market or farmers market, if you place a sign in
    your yard, or if you sell to local stores, this is considered PUBLIC SALE and all
    regulations and laws will be applied.
    If you sell by word of mouth or to your neighbors, this is NOT public Sale.
    In order to manufacture food for public sale, you must follow these
    requirements:
    1. Use an inspected facility (either SCDHEC approved or SCDA approved).
    Review the Processor Guidelines regarding buildings and grounds when
    constructing your honey house.
    2. An approved label that includes Name of Product (HONEY), Your Business
    Name and Address, and Net Weight. Pay close attention to font size and
    placement of information especially Net Weight. It is critical that the font size
    is at least the minimum size allowed by law. Use the Honey Label Sample as
    a guide only. When you have a label ready for review, you may call our office
    or drop the label off.
    3. Following all Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) which are enforced by
    SCDA during routine inspections of your facility. Hair restraints, hand
    washing, sanitized jars, clean utensils (knives), and clean equipment
    (extractors, tanks, etc.)
    We will work with you to bring you into compliance with our Food and Cosmetic
    Act and will help if you choose rent or build an approved facility. We try to
    ensure that wholesome and approved SC products are available to the public;
    your help is greatly appreciated.
    Remember to look into Product Liability Insurance. If someone gets sick (or
    makes a claim) and sues you, you need to have product liability insurance to
    cover your assets.
    Thank You,
    Derek M. Underwood
    Consumer Safety Officer
    Hugh Weathers, Commissioner
    Carol Fulmer, Director
    Consumer Services
    SCDA
    Consumer Service Division
    1101 Williams Street
    PO Box 11280
    Columbia SC 29211
    (803) 737-9690

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Superdog View Post
    BUD.... hate to give you bad news, but Wisconsin does have laws for honey sales and honey houses. See the link
    http://www.hort.wisc.edu/freshveg/Po...ue%20Added.ppt
    When I looked into it, I was told that as long as it was being sold to the end consumer from my house it was completely exempt. County health inspector told me farmers markets are exempt as long as my name and address and net wt. are on the container.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Central Point, Oregon
    Posts
    76

    Default

    Hi Neil!

    In the state of Oregon, there is an exemption for a beekeeper with less than 21 hives.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/docs/p...farmer_mkt.pdf
    http://egov.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/docs/...yexempt_08.pdf

    Hope that this helps.

    Larry Edwards

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
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    neil v.... here the department that handles food manufacting license is the Texas Department State Health Serices. The Texas Administrative Code 229.181 thru 229.184 is the code that control food manufactures in general.

    curios enough when I went to the local health department they gave me some copies of the code that did not include (mentioned in no way) the exemptions. the state government web site did however.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    489

    Reminder

    "Texas Administrative Code
    TITLE 25 HEALTH SERVICES
    PART 1 DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
    CHAPTER 229 FOOD AND DRUG
    SUBCHAPTER N CURRENT GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE AND GOOD WAREHOUSEING PRACTICE IN MANUFACTURING, PACKING OR HOLDING HUMAN FOOD
    RULE *229.214 Exclusions

    "The following operations are not subject to this section: Establishments engaged solely in the harvesting, storage, or distribution of one or more raw agricultural commodities which are ordinarily cleaned and packed before being market to the consuming public.

    "Source Note: The provisions of this *229.214 adopted to be effective August 15, 1999, 24 TexReg 6082; amended to be effective August 31, 2006, 31 TexReg 6746."

    The italics are mine.

    I read this to mean honey is excluded, so a hobbyist/sideliner selling by word of mouth is okay.

    Always better to ask forgiveness than permission, especially when asking bureaucrats, IMHO. One will have a different answer than another, forcing you to enter the Babylon of Bureaucratic Hell to find The One with the Final Answer, who will wonder why you are bothering him with this unimportant nonsense.

    Keep a paper of trail of whom/what you consulted, who said what, and when. Then you can at least back up your reasoning.

    GL
    Summer

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Missouri Valley, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default

    In Iowa as long as you are selling it to the consumer you do not have to have any type of inspection. You can find your local laws by contacting your city or county health dept.

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