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Food and Agricultural Code Section 29413(1) was amended to esablish a new definition of honey and set new labeling standards for honey products. In the process, a new crime was created for violating the standards.

According to an article my atty James Spenser in "Central Coast Farm and Ranch" magazine, "honey" is now limited to substances produced by honeybees, and exludes products containing food additives or coloring. A precise chemical composition of honey is described, procedures to influence crystallization are prohibited, and distinctions are made between blossom honey, nectar honey and honeydew honey. The latter term now refers to substances generated by plant-sucking insects other than honeybees. As of Jan 1, all forms of honey products and labels must meet the new standards.

309 Posts
im still not getting what these new standards are. If its dew honey ? nectar honey ? or blossom honey? hmmm . is that what the distinction is?

1,683 Posts
In Canada, those who are federally inspected are required to label and grade the honey they sell to the public.
If any honey has been flavored, you can not say "lemon honey" or "raspberry honey". These terms imply that the bees foraged on lemon tree blossoms or raspberry plants.
We are to state on the label "honey with lemon" "honey with raspberry". If the honey is no longer pure, ie flavored, the ingredients must be listed.

Not all follow the regs. This is because they are not an inspected facility.

165 Posts
I believe this is the text of the new law referenced above. "Blossom" and "nectar" honey are the same. "Honeydew honey" is honey made by bees from the exudates of other insects (NOT just the honeydew itself).


SECTION 1. Section 29413 of the Food
and Agricultural Code is amended to read:
29413. (a) "Honey" means the natural sweet substance produced
by honeybees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts
of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of
plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific
substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store, and leave in the
honey comb to ripen and mature .
(b) "Blossom honey" or "nectar honey" means the honey that comes
from nectars of plants.
(c) "Honeydew honey" means the honey that comes mainly from
excretions of plant sucking insects (Hemiptera) on living parts of
plants or secretions of living parts of plants.
(d) Honey consists essentially of different sugars, predominantly
fructose and glucose as well as other substances such as organic
acids, enzymes, and solid particles derived from honey collection.
The color of honey can vary from nearly colorless to dark brown. The
consistency can be fluid, viscous, or partially to completely
crystallized. The flavor and aroma vary, but are derived from plant
(e) Honey sold as described in subdivision (d) shall not have
added to it any ingredient, including food additives, nor shall any
other additions be made other than honey. Honey shall not have any
objectionable matter, flavor, aroma, or taint absorbed from foreign
matter during its processing and storage. Honey shall not have begun
to ferment or effervesce and no pollen or constituent particular to
honey may be removed except where unavoidable in the removal of
foreign inorganic or organic matter.
(f) Honey shall meet the following standards:
(1) Honey shall not be heated or processed to such an extent that
its essential composition is changed or its quality is impaired.

(2) Chemical or biochemical treatments shall not be used to
influence honey crystallization.
(3) Honey shall not contain more than 20 percent moisture content
and for heather honey not more than 23 percent.
(4) Honey shall contain not less than 60 percent fructose and
glucose, combined.
(5) Honeydew honey and blends of honeydew honey with blossom honey
shall not contain less than 45 percent fructose and glucose,
(6) Blossom honey shall not contain more than 5 percent sucrose,
except for the following:
(A) Alfalfa (Medicago saliva), citrus spp., false acacia (Robinia
pseudoacacia), French honeysuckle (Hedysarum), Menzies banksias
(Banksia menziesii), red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), leatherwood
(Eucryphia lucida), and Eucryphia milligani may contain up to 10
percent sucrose.
(B) Lavender (Lavandula spp.) and borage (Borago officinalis) may
contain up to 15 percent sucrose.
(7) The water insoluble solids content for honey other than
pressed honey shall not be more than 0.1g/100g. The content for
pressed honey shall not be more than 0.5g/100g.
SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act
pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local
agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a
new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or
changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of
Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a
crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the
California Constitution. All matter omitted in this version of
the bill appears in the bill as amended in the Senate, June 22, 2009

2,617 Posts
Not sure, but doesn't manzanita honey have a high sucrose level? I seem to remember reading about a dispute in Arizona years ago with the honey loan program over high sucrose in manzanita.
It is a common California honey, but isn't listed in the new law.

2,473 Posts
Mike I remember that too, some dispute over the honey composition during the times when it was all delivered to USDA because ya couldn't sell it.
A polariscope was used to measure sugar proportions. Fir dew from the Sierras would qualify as honey, good for loan program.
Also hfcs had just come out and there was adulteration concern.

2,617 Posts
Just wondering,cause some years we get quite a bit of manzanita honey. In between spring snowstorms that is.Its funny to see bees sucking water from the edge of a snowdrift on a sunny day.

1,036 Posts
I have seen drafts of a national honey standard that to my knowledge never went anywhere. But they were only a short paragraph that basically said honey comes from nectar or plant sucking insects.

This definition covers a lot and at least to me begs a lot of questions.

1) What is a chemical or biochemical treatment to influence crystallization? Is it currently legal and being done now? Would this include the addition of dextrose to cream honey as it comes in Dadant's creamed honey kit?

2) "no pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where unavoidable in the removal of foreign inorganic or organic matter"

Is this supposed to outlaw microfiltering to remove pollen? Isn't microfiltering actually the "removal of foreign inorganic or organic material -- which would exempt this process?

3) They've gone to great pains to define allowable amounts of different sugars in varietal honey (I guess to outlaw adulteration with corn syrup and other things), but I don't see any details about allowable levels of antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals (assuming there are allowable levels)

4) How do they define each varietal honey -- 51% of the pollen grains in a tested sample?

5) Is heather honey (and other pressed honey) made in California or is this mainly for imports?

6) Who is going to test for compliance with this? Who will pay for it?
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