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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm copying this from a local beeclubs website. they really seem to be flexing their muscles lately.
"Just a reminder that DPHHS has scheduled a Public Hearing in Helena on July 21 at 10:00
to hear comments regarding the proposed changes which would prevent raw honey from being sold at farmers markets in Montana.
Deadline for making public comment is 1700 on July 24. Please make plans NOW to attend the hearing or send an email to Mr. Kenneth Mordan, Administrative Rules Specialist // [email protected]"
 

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I thought the raw piece was the good part of it. Why are they trying to do that.? Can you sell it in the supermarkets? There must be a political angle or a big business angle. Someone is trying to take out the competition.
 

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Ok I skimmed the proposal and if I understand correctly, there is a possibility that selling raw honey at a farmer's market may now require a license from the health department due to the fact that is has been "packaged". Currently, such a license is only required if you are selling the honey in a retail store or through a third party (such as online).

When I wanted to sell honey at the Great Falls farmer's market last summer, the DPHHS said I needed to get a license first. I pointed out that under federal and state laws, farmer's market sales of raw honey and honeycomb were exempt. They maintained that since I had also set up an online store, I needed the license or they wouldn't let me sell at the market. So in the end I had to provide a copy of my Montana food manufacturer's/distributor's license, allow the DPHHS to come inspect my facility, and cough up the fee for the DPHHS license.

Worst case scenario, everyone will now have to do this. I don't see how it would actually stop people from selling their honey at farmer's markets--it might just be more of a pain to get in.
 

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jquinn- Could you point out that federal law that states raw honey and honeycomb doesn't need a license to be sold,
at farmers markets. Our state requires licensing to crush and strain raw honey and sell it. Thanks for any answers.
 

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As I understand it, under the new regulation we will have to have a commercial type kitchen to extract and bottle in. approved 3 compartment sink, hand washing sink, approved drain system, washable walls and floor, yearly inspections of the facility, yearly inspections of the sewer system, and water well testing. It is not that we can't sell, it's that we will have to spend a lot of money for the honor of doing so. In Montana there were two exemptions to the cottage food law. Fresh eggs, and honey. Someone bought some fresh eggs that hadn't been washed and complained about it and that is why we are having to go through this. Once again it is big brother trying to regulate something they have neither the knowledge or man power to do so.
 

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Montana currently has clearly written exemptions for hobbyist beekeeper honey sales, gramma making cookies and breads and soap makers all who the clean brown shirts want to bring under their thumb. It infuriates me. The hearing today was forgotten by me for which I am ashamed as I should have been their. It seems the Stazi managed to change the subject on the attendees who are now apparently going to help forge their own chains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
they called me last week and said " you are out of compliance for honey" i have a food license for other things, "we are going to come to the saturday farmers market and shut you down." i spent 6.5 hours on friday sitting in their office asking exactly what i needed to do. when they figured out i wasn't going to leave they finally found the person who told me to take my already extracted honey to the commisary kitchen i already use and bottle it there. and sell it tomorrow at the farmers market. OK, you've just made the public safer. Vance, the new code says any food that is extracted, cut, jarred, bottled,etc....and honey has been removed from the list of exempt foods. lousy
 

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jquinn- Could you point out that federal law that states raw honey and honeycomb doesn't need a license to be sold,
at farmers markets. Our state requires licensing to crush and strain raw honey and sell it. Thanks for any answers.
Whoops, I did some double-checking and there are none that I could find. What I should have said was that I was in compliance with FDA regulations regarding my honey and that state regulations didn't require a license for me to sell at the farmer's market. Sorry about that, I really hate to make misleading statements even if it was unintentional. :pinch:
 

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People are always trying to solve problems they don't have... when was the last incident where people were harmed by badly processed honey? All such regulations just help the big producers get bigger while suppressing small producers. It gives more control over the food supply to less and less people.
 

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The "law" in question requires that if honey is packaged/processed it must be done in a inspected/licensed facility. In Montana different counties have viewed and interpreted the law differently (hence the problem). I was told that I can not sell honey "anywhere" because I don't package/process it at an inspected facility. I was told that if I was to pull a frame out of a hive in the yard, cut the comb/honey and put it in a plastic bag I could not "legally" sell it at a farmers market or anywhere as it was not done in an inspected facility! It can be processed/packaged at someones else s place.
 

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The LAW is plainly written with exemptions for all those selling honey at farmers markets and such. The LAW only required inspected facilities if one was selling units in the twenty some thousand or wholesaling honey to stores. The Health department is trying to present themselves as poor put upon public servants who are FORCED to act because of the wording in the LAW. That word is processed. What a crock and what exact problem are they solving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
the exact problem they think they are solving is.....they think people who sell at farmers markets don't report income and thus don't pay their share of taxes. Unless it's honey packers writing the laws.
 

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the exact problem they think they are solving is.....they think people who sell at farmers markets don't report income and thus don't pay their share of taxes...
This law might not change that, but I think you have a good point--they want to know who's doing what. The fact that they get extra revenue from beekeepers having to pay licensing fees every year probably doesn't hurt, either.
 

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So what's the bottom line with this now? I'm currently out of state and just ran across this thread. As of today, does anyone who sells honey in any way have to package it in an approved facility (kitchen)? Are there any exceptions/exemptions? When does the new law take affect? etc etc. Thanks
 

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There is no new law just regulators assuming power by re interpreting existing laws and changing well defined and easily understood exemptions granted hobbyist beekeepers. Contact your legislator and let him know how you feel about it.
 
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