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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay - I have just 4 hives, 2 of which I've had for a year and 2 I just purchased today. I am about to retire and would like to sell some of the honey I get from my hives. I don't anticipate getting that much, but selling a few jars at a farmer's market or to friends, neighbors, etc. appeals to me and may help me pay for my equipment, buy my meds and pay my taxes. That said, in Florida, I am trying to find out if a small hobbyist/small business family enterprise can get any breaks from the strict regulations by the government on "processing" honey. I will only be using my honey bucket kit and gravity to fill a few jars of honey a couple of times a year. Will I still need to use a "certified kitchen" and take classes for a "food handler certification" as if I was a full blown restaurant? How can small folks like me make a few dollars if we have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars as if we were competing with big business? If we were to change the law here in florida to give a break to "the little guy", how many honey jars sold should determine "small business" vs. "big business?" Any suggestions?
 

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Personally, I think the small beekeepers should be able to process about 10 barrels of honey, 6-7000 lbs. without all the rigamarole of these stupid licenses. This hassle just started recently; some bureaucrat got a bee in their bonnet to try and justify a useless job at taxpayer expense.
 

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From what I understand with FL is that you have to have an approved and inspected facility no matter how much you bottle for sale. I know a guy in FL that would buy honey to bottle in his kitchen. The food inspector told him that he couldn't do that without an approved facility. He went around that by having his label say that the honey was intended for topical use but explained to his customers the reason the label states that. The inspector couldn't stop him after that was on his label.

Now I don't know the FL laws so someone from there can get you the correct legal standings on this subject. I am just stating what I heard from 1 guy in FL.
 

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Is there someone in your area who has a honeyhouse who might let you use it from time to time? Here, we have a commercial beek who has offered the use of his honeyhouse, which I thought was very generous. Food handling certificate is something else. I know we have to have it here before selling food, and although I haven't checked, I'm sure hone is included. Another way to sell without the rigamarole, is to sell comb honey. Just a thought.
 

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I know some beeks who have an arrangement with a local church that has commercially-certified kitchen. They have an "extraction day" a couple times a year, clean up afterwards and make a donation to the church.
 

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I am awaiting the outcome of this bill also, until then according to the Department of Ag inspector here in my area if I sell a bottle of honey for consumption it must be bottled in an approved facility and I must have the food safety class and card. "bulk" honey does not fall under this inspection process and neither does extraction. It should alos be noted that honey may not be extracted and bottled in the same area, must be seperate facilities rooms with the bottling facility room being inspected. I hope this senate bill passes, I urge you to contact your representatives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the tip on SB 2376 - I pulled up the bill history from the Florida Legislature website and see that the bill was filed by Senator Evelyn Lynn and it was withdrawn in early March, shortly after the 2010 Session started. Since Session is now over for the year it will be next March (2011) before they can try again. I plan to call Senator Lynn's office and see what happened with the bill (why it was withdrawn) and get a feel for the chances of re-filing it again next year. I will let everyone know what I find out. Small beekeepers need a break.

__________
"For breath is sweeter taken even as the last in places dear...
With gardens, fields and dogwood trees...
In forest stands of bamboo shoots...
Of ginger root and honey bees..."
 

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Does BeeSource have a specific forum for newbies to go find out regs for their own state? I don't know where to go to review Colorado's regulations....
I think that is asking a lot for BeeSource, especially considering potential liability of making certain ALL offices that need to be contacted are listed.

In our state, for example the Ks. Dept. of Health and Environment used to be the information contact, license and inspection source for restaurants &/or food processing facilities. Now, that is all under the Ks. Dept. of Agriculture, with the same set of guidelines.

I feel an internet search of your state's general website, speaking with other bee keepers, etc. would give you the research you need. There are other issues - sales tax, vendor's licenses, etc. that may need to be dealt with. Colorado does not include sales tax on food products, but our state does. Perhaps our BeeSource members can provide links or other information and maybe another section of BeeSource can be devoted to this. That would be up to Barry if he wishes to expand the site again to include this information.
 
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