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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    923

    Default Cottage foods law

    Anyone know how this relates to us beekeepers as honey producers?

    I solicited a local small mart about carrying my honey and she brought this issue up. I'm in Idaho and guess it's going to be in the ballot this spring.

    She said she couldn't carry my honey unless i went through the red tape process of getting certified through the fda or health department and every batch of honey has to be lab tested.

    This sounds like the process someone must go through as a commercial producer in order to sell. Which is where i want to be eventually. But this bill she mentioned, talks about those who can compete with the same people without the red tape process. BUT they will have to meet a certain criteria to be exempt.

    I assume that honey falls under the cottage food criteria considering all things having to extract it and bottle etc.

    Does anyone know anything about this? Idaho isn't the only state doing this and it has national attention.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,008

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Old Texas law stated I could be a cottage producer as long as I sold the honey from my home, truck, rented stand at the farmers market. Get into resale via retail outlets, and yup, FDA and inspections.

    they changed the law and said small producers could go up to 2500 lbs, "cottage food", but still as I understand it, if I sell it wholesale to a store and they sell it retail, FDA and inspections.

    They are changing it again, I suspect. I can't keep up
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    In Missouri our law applying to honey was lumped in with jelly and jam. Sounds kind of similar to your state? Any way, our club, near St Louis, Mo had our state representative introduce a new law separating local honey removed from that previous listing. I believe we modeled after Illinois but it could have been Texas. Now we no longer need to have our honey bottled in a licensed commercial kitchen with strict cleaning requirements. You can now do it in your home or honey house if you are over $30,000 a year producer. That means for us you can have it on any stores shelves with no problems.

    We started late in the legislative year, February, but still got it passed with the help of the state bee club. That happed here in 2015. If you have a bill coming up for your state support it by getting involved with your state beekeeping association. It will be to your advantage.

    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    3,673

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    The laws are different in almost all states. In Maine, selling comb honey does not require any permits or licences, but selling liquid (or in food processing lingo) "processed" honey does. Most small producers have a home food processing license. Honey is considered a safe food here, and the requirements for packaging are a bit relaxed. But if you are selling liquid honey, you best have a license. I know folks who processed in their uninspected kitchen and had their road side stand shut down by the state. There is a bill (at least the title of one) that may change everything.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    3,010

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Here in Michigan I believe you have to have sales under $15000/yr. and you don't need a health inspection.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    9,733

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Here is an info page for IDAHO:
    https://phd5.idaho.gov/Docs/Food%20P...-Food-FAQs.pdf
    Note the distinction in that document between selling direct to the consumer, and selling to a 3rd party like a store.

    Every state (and in some cases, city/county/district) has different rules. There are no Federal requirements for small producers, although if you get big enough, you can lose exemption from FDA rules.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,112

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    The laws are different in almost all states. In Maine, selling comb honey does not require any permits or licences, but selling liquid (or in food processing lingo) "processed" honey does. Most small producers have a home food processing license. Honey is considered a safe food here, and the requirements for packaging are a bit relaxed. But if you are selling liquid honey, you best have a license. I know folks who processed in their uninspected kitchen and had their road side stand shut down by the state. There is a bill (at least the title of one) that may change everything.
    As I understand the law here in ME, you can sell bottled honey from your home or roadside stand with no issues. However, if you lack the 'kitchen license' a third-party retail store cannot accept your product for sale, nor can you [legally] sell from an organized 'farmer's market'.

    I think it's kind of silly, because you aren't doing anything that actually requires a kitchen. There is no mixing of ingredients, no cooking, you're just taking bug-spit and putting it in a jar.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    923

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Thanks for feedback guys. Unfortunately, where i live, there is no local club. One has been in the works for years but not existent, yet. I'm going to inquire this with our local coop farm feed store and see what they know or if they can help pull on strings.

    The biggest drawback is if it doesn't pass and i have to lab test my honey every batch, what really constitutes processing a batch of honey? Not to mention the overhead from testing for a small producer...

    ...i like what you said, badbeekeeper, "..bug spit in a jar." Haha!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Millington, Michigan
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Here is Michigan's Michigan Maple Syrup and Honey Licensing Exemptions

    Under the Michigan Food Law, honey or maple syrup retail outlets and processing facilities operated by the producer are exempt from licensure, if gross sales are $15,001 or less.

    Honey and maple syrup are not considered cottage foods, because the regulatory requirements and exemptions have some significant differences. They do, however, have their own set of licensing exemptions under the law. Here are some of the basic differences and similarities between honey and maple syrup regulations and those for cottage foods:

    Honey and maple syrup producers who meet licensing exemptions must follow the same labeling requirements for their honey and maple syrup as those outlined for cottage food products. (Note: because honey and maple syrup cannot be processed in a home kitchen, the labeling requirement should read, "Processed in a facility not inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development."
    Honey and maple syrup producers who meet the licensing exemptions still must meet all requirements of the Michigan Food Law, including sanitation, building construct and design, employee hygiene, etc.
    Due to the nature of honey and maple syrup products and the equipment needed to process them, it is not possible to produce honey and maple syrup in a home kitchen and still meet the basic food processing requirements. Honey and maple syrup must be produced in a facility that meets basic processing requirements, as outlined in the Michigan Food Law.
    Honey and maple syrup producers can wholesale their products, including to grocery stores and other retailers who will then resell them, as long as they are labeled correctly. Honey and maple syrup producers are not limited to direct sales as cottage food products are.
    Click here for more information on the Michigan Food Law.

    For information on Michigan's Cottage Food Law, visit: www.michigan.gov/cottagefood

    Sample labels for maple syrup and honey:
    MADE IN A FACILITY THAT HAS NOT BEEN INSPECTED BY THE

    MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
    & RURAL DEVELOPMENT

    Pure Michigan Maple Syrup

    Artie Pinkster
    123 Sugar Shack Lane
    Maplepure, MI 82662

    Ingredients: Maple Syrup

    Net Wt. 16 oz (1 pint) 472 ml






    MADE IN A FACILITY THAT HAS NOT BEEN INSPECTED BY THE

    MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
    & RURAL DEVELOPMENT

    Pure Michigan Honey

    Artie Pinkster
    123 Honeybee Lane
    Honey City, MI 82672
    Ingredients: Honey

    Net Wt. 12 oz (355 ml)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Years ago Ii talked to the health dept here about honey inspection.The told me I could extract in an out house if I wanted but I would have to bottle in a building inspected by them.They sent me the regulations that other facilities like meat markets and canning facilities have to go through.He said if they found my honey on a store shelf anywhere it would be pulled and confiscated if not bottled in an inspected facility.That was 30 years ago in Arkansas so I dont know what the require now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Greene County, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Your best bet may be to contact your local health inspector, or the state office to find an inspector to talk to. They are normally helpful in answering those questions, especially if you are trying to set things up 'by the book'. They may also be able to give you insight as to how the new proposed regulations would impact cottage honey producers.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Florida has a cottage industry law also. Currently we can sell $15000 per year in direct sales with out having health dept liscense. No wholesale sales, or internet sales. It has to pass from my hand to yours. There are label requirements. See the state web site FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,189

    Default Re: Cottage foods law

    Illinois.
    The cut-off is 3 tons per year. 6000 pounds at $5/pound is $30k.
    Make and sell less than three tons and you can bottle it in your kitchen.
    Oddly enough there is a person in our club that had their basement state-inspected twice.
    Once for chicken eggs and the second time for honey bottling.
    They allow that person to do packaging of chicken eggs and honey in the same room?
    Yep

    There was an article a few years back in the American Bee Journal. Compared Missouri and Illinois.
    Missouri has a floor-drain requirement on honey houses while Illinois has a ban on floor drains period.
    Other than that the rules are similar in the two states.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

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