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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Montgomery, Tx
    Posts
    161

    Default Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    This year I have 7 hives and plan to gather more for the next couple of years, but I'm not sure what to do about a honey house. For now I'm operating in my garage and home kitchen and I was thinking about selling some honey at the local farmers market. Do I need to get a food handlers permit? Do I need to have a commercial kitchen that has been inspected?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Beckville Texas,USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    That question has been discussed here before.http://www.beesource.com/forums/arch.../t-225584.html
    The answer ultimately is 'it depends'. Where I am located I can sell just about anything I want off my front porch or out of the back of my car. The closer you get to a large town or city the harder it gets.
    Generally I've found here in Texas anything goes. Til someone says it doesn't if you know what I mean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,465

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    Some states it maters if you're selling for resale or not.
    If you don't proses the honey or add any fruits, nuts etc. & are selling to the end user it might not mater.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,827

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I do not know the laws, need to start looking up, have a couple of options on just going somewhere and packing.
    I do know that the kitchen is a NO-NO.

    Mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
    Like us on Facebook

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX USA
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    Hey kingfisher turning the orchard building into honey house will be setting up all the equipment up over the next month. Will also have wood shop.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I've called and spoken with DSHS for details. They pointed me to the generic food manufacturing facility statutes pertaining to sanitary operations.

    You CAN have the facility on your own property, even a special room built within the garage (not sure if attached garage, mine is detached).

    Talking with the inspector he seemed pretty easy going and lenient on things. They're main focus is to make sure you aren't bottling under conditions that could contaminate the honey.

    The statutes can be intimidating, but the inspectors have latitude here. For example, the statutes require a restroom in the facility. This is NOT required if a restroom is accessible within a "reasonable" distance. One guaranteed requirement is a dedicated hand washing sink. This CANNOT double as a ware washing sink. It has to be dedicated for hand washing only.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    We have always been exempted from this. Now they are saying we need to build a commercial kitchen? My guess is a lot of newbees called them and wanted to know what the "legal" thing to do is, and some pencil pusher just threw honey in under the general statutes. That is just incredibly stupid. Never had to deal with any of this in 25 years as a beekeeper. The blind leading the blind. Looks like I am a criminal now. Oh well....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by mythomane View Post
    ....... Looks like I am a criminal now. Oh well....
    Its impossible not to break some law or other as a beekeeper in the state of Texas (and, I suppose many other states). If you move a colony to or through another county, you need a permit. If you move your hive tool through another county you need a permit. If you sell bees you need a permit & inspections. If you remove bees from structures you need a permit (one for each county). If you sell queens you need a permit & inspections. If you sell honey, any honey, you are required to hold a 'Food Manufacturing' license -or, bottle your honey in a licensed facility, one member of our Club has that license so we can use his facility. The permits for moving cost $35 and are valid for one move. The other permits are renewed annually. That is the tip of the iceberg.

    We are all criminals mythomane......
    Last edited by Lburou; 09-13-2014 at 08:26 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I just saw this today: http://txbeeinspection.tamu.edu/beekeepers/honey/

    My prior understanding was that honey in Texas was a raw product, like a cucumber and didn't require a commercial kitchen or a food manufacturer's license. Go to a farmer's market and look at all the produce vendors selling vegetables and honey. How many of them do you think have a full-blown commercial kitchen?

    It looks like we have a new chief apiary inspector as of March 2014, so new rules are being put in place.

    B

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    We have, (until recently it seems), been exempted from this BS. Now one or two fools have decided to clamp down on independent beekeepers. Because people are dying left and right from our contaminated product. How many examples/problems can they name in the last 150 years of people getting sick from "bad" honey. None. But now it is illegal for us to sell it unless we sign up with Sue-Bee/get a commercial kitchen/get permits, etc. Let me get this straight -- Crap honey from China/SA/SueBee is OK, but Clean honey from small farmers is illegal. Just a matter of who gets paid off. This is complete garbage....

  12. #12

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I questioned the cottage law as well. I was told that honey did not currently fall under the cottage law, but may in the coming years.

    My understanding is that some farmers markets do not require the food manufacturer's license to sell there. But the particular market I inquired too is sponsored by the city of Houston, and the city requires it. I assume that most small town markets and roadside stands can escape this burden.

    Again, if you have the space and maybe $1000 (maybe far less) you could easily convert a small area in your garage and be good to go and get licensed. Me personally, physically, I do not have the space in my current garage, and can't invest in a standalone structure.

    Unless you have a large surplus of honey to where you actually need to sell retail and markets just to move it, I would not bother with the permitting. Just get your name out there through friends and family and you'll do fine. Local classified ads are great for easy cheap advertising.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Grand Prairie, Texas, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I'm going into my 3rd year of beekeeping and was finally excited as selling honey was becoming a real possibility. Then I discovered this news about TX DSHS misinterpreting their own cottage food law. Within the law, it names specific foods allowed to be made in a home kitchen and sold. Honey is not on that last. Then it names foods prohibited for sale under cottage food law. Honey is not on that list either. Then it names criteria that would prohibit food from being allowed under cottage food law. A high risk of spoilage or contamination are reasons a food would not be allowed. We all know honey is extremely stable and resists bacterial growth. It seems that someone at the state agency looked at the first list but did not read the last section, or was uneducated about the qualities of honey to know the last section would not rule out honey. After making their interpretation (possibly due to the many new beeks inquiring), it became their standard operating procedure. There is a board of council members that make recommendations about changes to law. It's not clear how to present a case to them to get honey added to the approved foods list under cottage law, but judging by the foods that are on the list, honey would be the safest food that could be packaged in a home kitchen for sale. Any TX beeks able to help get the ball rolling on this? It would be a huge, much needed benefit to virtually all hobby and sideline beekeepers in Texas.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    It is a power grab. FARFA is already on this. Contact Judith McGeary if you want to help out.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Grand Prairie, Texas, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    Thank you, mythomane. I just sent them an email.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Northeast Texas
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    I'm wondering how they will react to something like the Flow hive. Straight from the hive to the bottle, no kitchen required.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    They will not react. They want you to spend 30k building a commercial kitchen to sell your honey. It is not about safety. It is about the Texas inspector being in collusion with the AHPA and BigAg to shut down small producers with clean product cutting into their bottom line. We need to make the world safe for Chinese Honey!
    Last edited by Barry; 03-26-2015 at 08:04 AM. Reason: edit by request

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Glen Rock, NJ, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    Really interesting thread.
    I'm not in Texas and I don't sell honey. I would definitely be willing to sell wholesome products in small stores in my neighborhood, owned and run by my reasonable friends and neighbors, basically. I'm really glad to hear your elected officials are VERY responsive to you, glad but not surprised. As to the Texas Honey Police, as you say, they can't get the phones answered so I wouldn't worry that they're making arrests at the farmers' market or local health food joint. It's maybe a guy who used to (or still does) keep bees, maybe not the whole Monsanto Gestapo. AND, if I didn't care for the phrasing mandated for my label, I am subversive enough to come up with my own positive phrasing... "Meticulously and lovingly bottled by hand in small batches to the highest standard..." Etc. But you of course should maybe obey all laws, clear or otherwise, that apply to you, no matter what your Texas heritage is.

    Mostly I think they want you washing your hands after the bathroom in a sink seperate from where you wash the honey stuff...
    Last edited by AndrewoftheEast; 05-05-2015 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Afterthoughts

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Northeast Texas
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws

    SB1766 has been sent to the Local and Consent calendar. Apparently there is only a week or so left in which to get it through to law, but they expect it to make it in time. Keep your fingers crossed. The Bill Status Hotline for Texas is 877-824-7038.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Texas Honey House Laws or Production Laws


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