Only Unadulterated Honey May Be Sold In Florida
LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced that his department has instituted the first regulation in the nation - and perhaps the world - prohibiting any additives, chemicals or adulterants in honey that is produced, processed or sold in Florida. The regulation, which takes effect July 14, provides the first-ever "Standard of Identity" for honey.
Bronson said, "Too often in the past, honey has been cut with water or sugar, and sometimes even contaminated with insecticides or antibiotics. In the future, when you're paying for honey in this state, pure honey is what you will get."
Under terms of the new regulation, honey containing anything other than the "natural food product resulting from the harvest of nectar by honeybees" is considered an adulterated or mislabeled product. Such products are subject to a "stop sale" order in which a manufacturer, processor or merchant would be served with an order prohibiting the product's sale. Repeat offenders would face fines of up to $500 per violation.
Florida is the fourth-leading honey producing state in the country with cash receipts to beekeepers of more than $15 million in 2008 and an industry that has an economic impact estimated at $40 million a year. It employs more than 500 Floridians.
As a result of a flood of adulterated honey from overseas into Florida in 2006, a petition was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later that year by five major honey producers and processors, asking the federal agency to establish a U.S. standard of identity for honey. Two years later, the FDA responded that due to other pressing matters, it would be unable to review the petition.
At that point, the industry asked Bronson's department if it would consider developing a standard of identity for the product, and today's announcement is the culmination of that effort.
Bronson noted that despite efforts in various quarters, international governing bodies have to date been unable to establish an international definition of or standard of identity for honey, making it likely that Florida's regulation governing honey may be the first of its kind anywhere.