Cottage Food Operation Information

August 13, 2019
Jaime Garza, County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector

Dear Beekeeper, 

Please find some helpful links that explain the following information on Cottage Food Operations which allows individuals to prepare and/or package certain non-potentially hazardous foods in private-home kitchens referred to as "cottage food operations" (CFOs): 

 *Honey label has specific requirements in the California Food & Ag Code as well. 

All honey containers must have the following labeling:  

  1. Identity: common product name “Honey” you can also choose to include floral or blossom source of honey in addition to product name Honey

  2. Responsibility: name and address of producer or distributor

  3. Quantity: Net weight of honey should be in pounds or ounces AND grams and follow standard honey container weights found in FAC 29502

  4. US Grade: see USDA Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey manual TABLE IV and TABLE V

  5. Color: only if honey is packed in opaque container – see USDA Grades of Extracted Honey manual TABLE I – color designations 

 Here are some helpful links to help you better understand honey labeling: 

California Food & Agricultural Code FAC 29611 (Honey container labeling)  

California Food & Agricultural Code FA 29502 (Standard honey container weight)

National Honey Board honey labeling information

USDA Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey Manual 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Jaime Garza, County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures | Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector, Phone: 858-614-7738 | Email: | Website:

University of California to Measure Economic Impact of Honey Industry

Project Apis m.     May 17, 2018

Industry can promote its economic contributions – but only if beekeepers, importers, packers and processors participate in study.

FREDERICK, Colo. (May 16, 2018) – From beekeepers and honey importers to packers and processors, the honey industry plays a unique and vital role in the U.S. economy.  To illustrate the industry’s true impact, the University of California is asking business owners to complete a short survey. The questionnaire will measure the economic impact of all aspects of the honey industry by calculating the number of jobs the industry creates and its total economic activity.   

The questionnaire’s data will be used to create a final report that showcases the role of the honey industry in the broader U.S. economy as well as its impact on regional economies throughout the country.

To accurately assess this large and varied industry, the University of California is looking to the businesses that make up the honey industry to take part in the questionnaire. The information will be entirely confidential, with the survey conducted online through a secure form without personally-identifiable information. Participants have until Friday, June 15, 2018 to complete the survey.

“The University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis is committed to helping agricultural organizations better understand their economic impact,” said Project Scientist Dr. Bill Matthews. “We’re looking forward to quantifying the honey industry’s important role within the U.S. economy.”

To participate in the U.S. Honey Industry Impact Questionnaire, please visit the US Honey Economic Impact Survey before June 15, 2018.

“The honey industry makes significant contributions to the US economy,” said Margaret Lombard, CEO of the National Honey Board. “Finally being able to quantify our impact the way other industries have will allow us to generate goodwill for our industry’s many contributions.”

To learn more about the University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis, please visit For more information on the National Honey Board, please visit

About National Honey Board
The National Honey Board (NHB) is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. The Board’s work, funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey, is designed to increase the awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. The ten-member-Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, represents producers (beekeepers), packers, importers and a marketing cooperative. For more information, visit

About University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis
The University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) was established in 1985 to research and analyze crucial trends and policy issues affecting agriculture and interlinked natural and human resources in California and the West. The Center, which consists of a director, several associate directors, a small professional staff and an Advisory Board, provides independent and objective research-based information on a range of critical, emerging agricultural issues such as food and agricultural commodity markets, the value of agricultural research and development, farm costs and returns, consequences of food and agricultural policy and rural resources and the environment. The audience for AIC research and outreach includes decision makers in industry, non-governmental organizations and governments as well as scholars, journalists, students and the general public.
Jessica Schindler:, (303) 776-2337

National Honey Board Partners With Project Apis M. To Invest $10 Million To Aid Bee Health

Catch The Buzz    September 26, 2017

The National Honey Board and Project Apis m. are reinforcing their commitment to the future of bees through an investment of $10 million by 2020 in bee health research. In addition to producing honey, bees are an important contributor to our food supply. Pollinator foods, including those pollinated by bees, represent one in every three bites of food that we eat.1

The initiatives will seek to improve the well-being of nearly 2.9 million American bee colonies,2 with a specific focus on the main threats to bee health:3

Pesticides, some of which, may kill the bee immediately once they’ve made contact, or when the bee brings small amounts of the pesticide, on its body or in contaminated nectar, back to the hive.4 There are also many sub lethal effects which appear slowly or synergisms of multiple exposure.

Pathogens and parasites, such as Nosema and Varroa mites, infect bees with diseases that can destroy entire colonies. All parasites directly or indirectly feed on the honey bees.

Limited quality and quantity of forage for bees results in poor nutrition.5

“The National Honey Board depends upon the hard-working honey bee to produce the honey that many of us enjoy, and celebrate every September during National Honey Month. We feel a strong responsibility to help protect the bees, which is why we’ve been funding production research since 2004, funding for CCD research since early 2007 and began allocating five percent of our annual budget to all honey bee health research in 2008,” said Margaret Lombard, Chief Executive Officer, National Honey Board. “We’re so pleased to be working alongside partners, such as Project Apis m., who share our commitment to improving and maintaining bee health, during a time when it is needed most.”

In addition to these efforts, there are several, simple changes that people can make to help improve the health of bees, such as:

Provide forage and habitat for bees by planting pollinator-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in the garden. Find plant species that are native to your area and also beneficial non-native plants by visiting the Pollinator Partnership website.

Allow dandelions and other flowering weeds to grow to provide more nectar and pollen sources for the bees. If you must control them, consider waiting until bloom is over, and using natural alternatives to chemical and pesticides, such as releasing natural pest predators or pulling weeds by hand. If you apply a chemical, do so in the evening after pollinator flight periods.

Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect and provide habitat for honey bees and other pollinators

Eat more honey. Supporting the honey industry makes beekeeping possible, and will continue to fund bee health research that will help our pollinator friends to thrive.

“Without bees, we wouldn’t have some of the world’s most nutrient-rich foods,”6 said Danielle Downey, Executive Director, Project Apis m. “Thanks to previous research and funding, we’ve been making progress towards better bee health, however, we still have a long road ahead. We’re pleased to join our partners and the National Honey Board to commit to funding vital research to continue to improve bee health.”

To educate people about the importance of bees to our food supply and honey production, the National Honey Board has created a virtual reality (VR) video that takes viewers on a hive-to-table journey, seen from the point of view of a bee. The video can be viewed as a 360 video or as a more immersive experience using a VR viewing headset. It is available online at

After experiencing the point of view of a bee in VR, people can also celebrate the hard work of bees and the pure, natural flavor of honey during September’s National Honey Month by creating honey-infused meals, found on

Federal Directive Brings Veterinarians and Beekeepers Together

JAVMA News    Story and photos by R. Scott Nolen    September 28, 2016

Drugs for honeybee disease will require veterinary prescription in 2017 

Jim Belli of Old Mill Creek, Illinois, inspects one of his hives. The FDA rule concerning antimicrobial use in food-producing animals, taking effect in 2017, will require U.S. beekeepers to get veterinary approval to purchase these drugs for their honeybee colonies.Come Jan. 1, 2017, hobbyist and commercial beekeepers alike will no longer be able to purchase antimicrobials over the counter, but instead, will need a veterinary feed directive or prescription for the drugs they administer to their honeybees.

The federal mandate requiring veterinary oversight of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals, including honeybees, is part of a Food and Drug Administration strategy to reform the way these drugs are legally used in food animals. 

For millennia, humans have relied on Apis mellifera for food, to create candles and cosmetics, and, most importantly, to pollinate crops, earning them the name “the angels of agriculture.” Veterinary medicine in the United States has, however, traditionally paid little attention to honeybees, the only insect listed as a food-producing animal.  

Dr. Christopher Cripps is a rarity as one of a handful of U.S. veterinarians knowledgeable about honeybee health and apiculture. Co-owner of honeybee supply business in Greenwich, New York, Dr. Cripps considers the FDA action an opportunity for veterinarians to access a relatively untouched animal industry valued by the Department of Agriculture at just over $327 million in 2015.

“The FDA has said veterinarians and beekeepers have to get together,” he said. “It’s new to us, and it’s new to beekeepers, who are used to having no one looking over their shoulder.”  

This past August, Dr. Cripps spoke at AVMA Convention 2016 about honeybee diseases, approved medications in apiculture, and what the new Veterinary Feed Directive means for veterinarians. Additionally, Dr. Cripps is part of a working group formed by the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee to help veterinarians understand the legal requirements of writing a VFD or prescription for honeybees.

“As a strong proponent of responsible antibiotic use, the AVMA has been involved in the changing regulations from the very start,” said Dr. Christine Hoang, an assistant director of the AVMA Animal and Public Health Division and staff adviser for the food safety committee.

“We’ve also recognized that minor species, including honeybees, have unique circumstances and needs that must be addressed. It will be a steep learning curve, but we are currently developing educational materials for our member veterinarians and are dedicated to collaborative solutions for the beekeeping industry,” Dr. Hoang said.

Honeybees are prone to 18 infectious diseases; the FDA has approved three antimicrobials for American and European foulbrood disease.

The National Honey Board puts the number of U.S. beekeepers at around 125,000, most of them hobbyists with fewer than 25 hives. Last year, domestic honey production totaled 157 million pounds, according to the USDA, which says managed honeybee colonies contribute roughly $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture each year through increased yields and superior harvests. 

Some 18 diseases attributable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites have been identified in honeybees. Arguably the greatest disease threat is the Varroa destructor mite, which drains the blood of adult bees and is a vector for various viruses that easily kill off weakened insects. Varroa mites are suspected to play an important role in colony collapse disorder, a mysterious occurrence in which most of the worker bees abandon a colony, leaving few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and queen.

American foulbrood disease is the most serious of the honeybee bacterial pathologies. The disease is caused by the spore-forming Paenibacillus larvae, which infects one- to two-day-old bee larvae and kills them during the pupal stage. Beekeepers have three FDA-approved antimicrobials to control foulbrood outbreaks—oxytetracycline, tylosin, and lincomycin—which are typically mixed with sugar and dusted over the frames inside a bee hive. 

In his presentation at the AVMA convention, Dr. Cripps cited a 2015 survey by the Bee Informed Partnership in which 357 of approximately 5,000 beekeepers admitted using antimicrobials in their bee colonies. Commercial beekeepers, who, on average, own approximately 900 hives, are the primary users of antimicrobials, he added.

Humans have managed honeybees for centuries, and yet, veterinarians, particularly in the United States, have had little to do with these food-producing animals.

Within the beekeeping community, there is little understanding of bacteriology or how antimicrobial resistance is spread, Dr. Cripps observed. “Basically, the beekeepers know that if oxytetracycline doesn’t work, I should use tylosin,” he explained.

Dr. Cripps described beekeepers as a lot like food animal producers, saying they are frugal yet willing to pay for services that promote the health of their colonies and result in increased honey production. “They’re OK with spending money so long as they’re getting something for the money they spend,” he explained.

Veterinarians can demonstrate their value to beekeepers, Dr. Cripps said, by delivering the same services they provide to owners of avian and mammalian livestock, such as preventive care, disease diagnosis and treatment, parasite control, and education in good husbandry practices. “I think the FDA is not looking for us to exchange our signature for money, which is basically how the beekeepers feel the veterinarians are going to be,” he said. “The FDA wants us to know what’s going on. We have a great education that puts us in a great position to help beekeepers understand the diseases their bees get and how to control and prevent them.”

Dr. Nicolas Vidal-Naquet, a lecturer of honeybee biology and diseases at the Veterinary School of Alfort in France, views the new federal Veterinary Feed Directive as “a very positive decision.” In an email to JAVMA News, Dr. Vidal-Naquet wrote, “This will lead veterinarians to get involved in apiculture, and this will lead beekeepers and other apiculture professionals to apply good practices in using veterinary medicines.”

Treating honeybees with antimicrobials is illegal in Europe, where miticides to control the Varroa mite are the only approved medications, according to Dr. Vidal-Naquet, author of “Honeybee Veterinary Medicine: Apis mellifera L.,” published in 2015.

“I think that antibiotic resistance is a real problem in the U.S. because of a misuse and overuse of antibiotics,” he said, adding he advocates for good husbandry practices as the ideal way of preventing and controlling honeybee diseases. 

Dr. Vidal-Naquet explained how European veterinarians, like their American counterparts, overlooked honeybees as a sector of animal agriculture until 2005, when the Nantes Atlantic College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science, and Engineering in France established the first veterinary postgraduate degree in apiculture and honeybee diseases. At least 200 veterinarians have graduated from the Nantes program so far, Dr. Vidal-Naquet said, while veterinary schools in Germany, Spain, Italy, and Austria now devote some courses to honeybee health and husbandry. 

The catalyst for the novel veterinary degree was the desire of a small number of veterinarians who, Dr. Vidal-Naquet said, wanted their profession to do more to safeguard an increasingly threatened animal species whose importance to humans and the environment cannot be overstated.

Within a decade, that message had caught on, with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) devoting an entire issue of its 2014 “bulletin” to honeybees. Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE director general at the time, called the potential loss of honeybees a “biological, agricultural, environmental, and economic disaster. Maintaining healthy populations of these key pollinating insects … is a critical health challenge deserving the full attention of the global community.”

The Presidential History of Honey Bees

National Honey Board    February 18, 2016

Earlier this week we celebrated President’s Day, originally known as George Washington’s birthday. This day was designed to honor America’s first president on his birthday, but has since come to be known as a holiday to celebrate all presidents and the great work they have done for our country.

You may have heard about a little initiative the White House took on in 2015 to protect and promote pollinator health. Understanding the importance of the humble honey bee and other insect pollinators, President Obama put together an interagency task force to create a strategy for the promotion of pollinator health.

In case you were wondering just how important honey bees are to our ecosystem, consider this: about one-third of the U.S. diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of that process. That’s right, one-in-three bites! We can all thank honey bees for our favorite fruits, vegetables and nuts, like apples, almonds, watermelon, cucumbers and avocados. Did you also know that because of their pollination work, honey bees alone add more than $15 billion in agricultural value each year? So yes, honey bees, and all insect pollinators, are pretty important to our way of life, and we are so excited to see them get the attention they deserve.

In honor of this great work done by the Obama administration and all of our great presidents throughout history, we thought it would be fun to share some sweet facts about our nation and its relationship with the humble honey bee.

  • George Washington is said to have been a big fan of honey and enjoyed it in his tea and was quite fond of covering his hoecakes with a reasonable drizzle.
  • Both fans of gardening, and understanding the pollination performed by honey bees, Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both kept bees on their estates.
    • There are still bees kept at Mount Vernon, and you can learn all about them here.
  • According to records at Mount Vernon, George Washington is thought to have been among the first to keep his bees in wooden boxes, as opposed to the traditional black gum hives.
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote about the origins of honeybees in his nature book, Notes on Virginia.
  • Martha Washington is said to be quite the fan of rose-flavored honey (honey boiled with rose petals).
  • Have you heard about the “Bees that Saved America?” It is quite the tale, and you can read about it here.
  • According to our friends at Historical Honeybee Articles, Abraham Lincoln is rumored to be “very fond of honey.”
  • In 2009, Charlie Brandts became the first official White House beekeeper when he installed a hive of nearly 70,000 bees near the garden on the South Lawn. He retired from government in 2012, but is still on-hand to maintain the hive.
  • In its first three years, the presidential hive produced 340 pounds of honey that has been given out as gifts, used to make beer and in both daily and formal meals at the White House.
    • Get a inside look at the Presidential beehive here.

Which of these fun facts surprised you the most? What other facts have you seen about the presidential history of honeybees? 

You can make comments at the National Honey Board blog:

National Honey Board Recipes for February

Score Big With Honey!

This weekend the National Football League (NFL) is celebrating 50 years. That’s 50 years of “I could hear that from here!” tackles, “Did that just happen?!?” plays, “I can’t believe it!” tear-inducing losses and “We are the champions!” sweet victories.

But it’s not just about the game, or the coaches or the players. What makes the Super Bowl great is the experience of it all, the atmosphere you create when you bring good friends together with great food. That’s right, this is a holiday for food, and we’ve got five new recipes that will show you how to score big this weekend with honey!

So much more than just a sweetener, all-natural honey performs a slew of tasks, making it a true game changer in the kitchen: 

  • Flavor: Honey not only imparts a unique flavor to any dish, but it also balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.
  • Emulsifier: Honey acts as a binder and thickener for sauces, dressings, marinades and dips.
  • Humectant: Honey provides and retains moisture to a variety of dishes, helping you lock in moisture for grilled meats. 

 So take it to the house and make honey your VIP this weekend.

Curried Honey-Glazed Chicken Wings
Chipotle-Mango Salsa
Grilled Chicken Satay with Honey Peanut Sauce
Peppered Asiago Bacon Burgers with Honeyed Arugula  
Honey Shanty 
Super Bowl Recipes

National Honey Board Recipes for November

National Honey Board - Recipes Repost from November 2, 2015
(In case you missed it and are looking for Thanksgiving recipes.)

We are Thankful for You, Honey!

November officially kicks off the holiday season, the time of year when families are getting together to enjoy each other’s company, catch up and share stories, or even play a backyard football game. And what brings people together like a good meal?
We’re not sure about you, but there is just something about being home for the holidays that makes everything a little bit better, until it comes to the menu planning, that is. But fear not, we are here to make your Thanksgiving a little easier with these five delicious, honey-inspired recipes that are sure to be a hit with all the relatives and friends who are gathered around the family table!

Cinnamon Honey Glazed Sticky Buns 
Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Chunky Apple Cranberry Sauce  
Honey Cornbread Stuffing 
Honey Pumpkin Pie 

National Honey Board Recipes

National Honey Board Recipes: Memorial Day Weekend


 Memorial Day is quickly approaching, and here at the National Honey Board we want to remember and celebrate all of our fallen military. We thank you for your sacrifice and appreciate everything our military does to keep us safe here at home.

That being said, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer, which brings us to one of our favorite times of year - grilling season! Whether you are spending the day with family, friends or neighbors, we've got many great honey-inspired Bee-Bee-Q recipes to make your summer sweet!

Giving Thanks: Recipes from the National Honey Board

Giving Thanks!
Thanksgiving has snuck up on us once again this year and since it is next week, we thought a honey-inspired holiday menu was appropriate.

You see, one-thirds of our food is made possible by insect pollinated crops and these hard-working ladies are responsible for about 80 percent of that pollination. And if that isn’t enough, honey bees travel more than 55,000 miles just to bring one pound of honey to consumers. Now that hard work is something to be thankful for!

From the ham to the pecan pie, the honey bees and their scrumptious honey have you covered! Enjoy this time with your friends and family, and reflect on the fact that sometimes, it’s the littlest things we are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving from the National Honey Board!
Fallen Butternut Squash Gratin 
  • 3 cups (6 medium) - butternut squash, cooked
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 3 Tablespoons - flour
  • 1 teaspoon - salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon - nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon - cinnamon
  • 3 large - eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup - chopped pecans

Combine squash, honey, flour, salt, spices and egg yolks; blend well. Beat egg whites until they reach stiff peaks; sold into squash mixture until no streaks of white remain. Pour into 6 buttered ramekins; sprinkle nuts over top. Place ramekins in hot water bath; bake at 350°F until golden, about 30 minutes.

Printer Friendly Version - Fallen Butternut Squash Gratin

 Wild Rice & Mushroom Stiffing  
  • 1 cup - wild rice
  • 4 cups - water, salted to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon - oil
  • 1/2 cup - minced onion
  • 1/2 cup - chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon - minced garlic
  • 2 cups - sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup - chopped dried apricots
  • 2 Tablespoons - minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup - honey

In small saucepan, combine wild rice with salted water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender, approximately 45 minutes. While rice is cooking, heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onions, celery and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent and celery is soft, about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. When rice is cooked, drain in a colander. In large bowl, combine rice and mushroom-onion mixture. Add apricots, parsley and honey, stirring until mixed well. Serve warm as a side dish or use to stuff poultry.

Printer Friendly Version - Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing

Cranberry Pecan Pie
  • 2 cups - fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup - orange juice
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 2 Tablespoons - cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons - cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon - orange extract
  • 1 - 9-inch baked pie shell
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 3 Tablespoons - butter or margarine
  • 1-3/4 cups - pecan halves

In medium saucepan, combine cranberries, juice and honey. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 15 minutes if using fresh cranberries or 20 minutes if using frozen berries. Cool. Puree cranberry mixture in blender; return to saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into cranberry mixture. Bring to boil and cook until thickened. Stir in orange extract. Cool; then pour into pie shell. Spoon topping evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until top is bubbly. Cool on wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Topping: In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup honey and 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine; cook and stir 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Stir in 1-3/4 cups pecan halves until well coated.

Printer Friendly Version - Cranberry Pecan Pie

Honey Whiskey Clove-Glazed Ham  
  • 3/4 cup - honey
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons - bourbon whiskey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon - ground cloves
  • 1 (5-lb.) - bone-in fully cooked ham, spiral sliced

Combine honey, bourbon and cloves in small bowl until well blended. Place ham, cut-side down, in roasting pan; brush with honey mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake at 275°F about 1 hour or until heated through. Remove foil from ham and increase oven temperature to 425°F Brush with honey mixture. Bake about 10 minutes more or until ham is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on serving platter. Pour juices over ham.
*2 teaspoons vanilla can be substituted for bourbon.

 Honey Pot Cider
  • 1-1/4 cup - apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon - Orange Blossom honey
  • 1 pinch - cinnamon
  • 1-3/4 oz. - Apple Jack brandy
  • 1 - cinnamon stick
  • 2 - apple slices

Combine the apple cider, honey and cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the Apple Jack brandy and pour the cider into a mug.

With the tip of a small knife, pierce small holes in the apples and string them onto a cinnamon stick. Place the garnish across or in the cider.

National Honey Board - Giving Thanks!

National Honey Board

The National Honey Board Announces the Re-Launch of the Sweet Truth Behind Honey

CATCH THE BUZZ     By Kim Flottum    November 12, 2014

The real food movement isn’t going anywhere as 57 percent of people have reported searching for foods made with simple, real ingredients. Honey—a natural sweetener often used for tea, baking and on toast—is pure and simply harvested from honeycombs with no added ingredients or preservatives. With more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States and a multitude of culinary uses, honey is becoming an even more popular ingredient for those seeking a more natural approach to their foods. However, the story from honey bee to table is sometimes misunderstood so misperceptions on authenticity, sourcing and bottling exist. The National Honey Board (NHB), a federal research and promotion board with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight, has compiled The Sweet Truth Behind Honey educational platform to provide reliable resources and sustain consumer confidence in this versatile everyday pantry staple.

The NHB conducted an Attitude and Usage (A&U) study and learned first-hand that a majority of current users, past purchasers and non-purchasers report it is important for honey to be pure. Honey is just that, made by honey bees from the nectar of flowers and plants, not from pollen. This is just one of several myths that need clarification, according to the NHB.

“Honey is produced by honey bees from the nectar in flowers. Some plants have flowers with nectar, some that just have pollen, and some have both,” says 40-year veteran beekeeper Gene Brandi. “Nectar is a sugar-water solution that is found at the base of nectar-producing flowers. The bees collect the nectar and bring it back to the colony, store it and dehydrate it, and eventually turn it into honey.”

Consumer confusion doesn’t stop once honey reaches the honeycomb. The bright color of typical honey in the supermarket is a result of filtering, which improves clarity. Research supports that filtering honey doesn’t impact the nutrient content or antioxidant activity. Honey is made by honey bees from nectar of flowers and plants, not pollen. Pollen grains are seen as an accidental guest in honey, brought back as a food source for the baby bees. While filtering honey, the air bubbles, fine particles, other material in suspension and pollen grains are removed. Honey without pollen is still honey, nutritionally and in flavor.

“U.S. honey packers are filtering out the impurities and the particles because that is what causes honey to crystallize. One of the things that we’re doing through the filtering step is extending the shelf life of honey, which is also a quality of honey that is important to consumers,” cites beekeeper and honey packer BrentBarkman, Chairman of the NHB. “From research we know that consumers like a clear, golden product that’s also free of particles and won’t crystallize in the pantry. We're always looking for the highest quality product that we can provide to the consumer.”

While more than 83 percent of consumers are aware of the wide range of more than 300 honey varietals in the United States, most respondents actually buy honey for use in baking, tea or on toast. “In terms of functionality and how to use honey in recipes the list is very long,” notes Marie Simmons, award-winning cookbook author and spokesperson for the NHB. “Honey is a natural flavor booster that works well in both sweet and savory dishes. It adds distinctive flavor notes, rich golden colors, balances the taste and holds and attracts moisture, especially important in baked goods. Additionally, honey is naturally antimicrobial, and therefore helps to prevent foods from spoiling.”

Honey is a natural product that contains just one ingredient: honey. The versatility of honey makes it easily accessible for consumers to use in their daily routines. Honey is a whole food, and as a carbohydrate, is considered a natural energy booster. Honey also has other uses outside of the culinary realm. With humectantproperties, honey draws and retains moisture to help hydrate the skin. It is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization as a natural cough suppressant in children after their first birthday.

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. For more information and recipes, please visit

To Find Every BUZZ article, check us out at

Read online at

Honey Labeling

National Honey Board 

One of the most important decisions that a food marketer has to make is what to put on the label of a food product. It needs to appeal to the consumer and stand out from other food packages on the shelf. There are also legal considerations. And let’s face it, when it comes to labeling a honey jar, there’s limited space. 

Basic Labeling Requirements


The “Common” Name of the Product

The word “honey” must be visible on the label. The name of a plant or blossom may be used if it is the primary floral source for the honey. Honey must be labeled with its common or usual name on the front of your package. (i.e. “Honey” or “Clover Honey”)

Net Weight

The net weight of your product (excluding packaging), both in pounds/ounces and in metric weight (g) must be included in the lower third of your front label panel in easy-to-read type. (i.e. Net Wt. 16 oz. (454 g)) When determining net weight, use the government conversion factor of 1 ounce (oz) = 28.3495 grams or 1 pound (lb.) = 453.592 grams. Round after making the calculation – not before. Use no more than three digits after the decimal point on the package. One may round down the final weight to avoid overstating the contents. When rounding, use typical mathematical rounding rules.


Single ingredient products (such as honey) do not have to name that single ingredient when already used in the common or usual name on the front panel. However, if there are ingredients other than honey, you must list them in an ingredient statement. Some exceptions are spices, flavorings and incidental additives (additives which have no functional role and with minimal presence in the finished product) which have special rules.

The type size for ingredient listings must be no less than 1/16th inch as measured by the small letter “o” or by the large letter “O” if all caps are used in the declaration. There are exemptions that allow smaller type sizes for small packages.

Contact Information

The label must let consumers know who put the product on the market and how to contact that person. The name and the address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor of a packaged food product are required to appear on the label of the packaged food. This information, sometimes referred to as the “signature line,” must appear on the front label panel or the information panel. If space permits, include full address and telephone number. The information must be in a type size that is at least 1/16th inch tall.

National Honey Board Accepting Bee Research Proposals

The following is brought to us by ABJ Extra.   August 27, 2014
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Firestone, Colo., Aug. 25, 2014 – The National Honey Board is requesting proposals for research dealing with honey bee colony production. 

The goal of this research is to help producers maintain colony health while assuring the maintenance of honey quality.  The NHB is encouraging proposals on Varroa research, but will consider proposals dealing with  Acarapis woodi, Nosema ceranae, and small hive beetle; the investigation into the causes and controls of Colony Collapse Disorder; and honey bee nutrition, immunology, and longevity. 

The NHB is open to projects that find new methods of maintaining health, as well as those that combine current methods to increase efficacy rates.  Other projects will be considered and research outside the U.S. is possible. 

The amount of funds available for a particular proposal will depend on the number and merit of proposals finally accepted.  The funds will be available for approved projects for the duration of the calendar year 2015 and may be carried into early 2016 if necessary; the duration of projects being funded should generally not exceed 12 months. 

Proposals must be received at the National Honey Board office by 5:00p.m. Mountain Time, November 17, 2014.  Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Instructions on how to submit a research proposal may be found on the NHB website at

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs.

California Drought Stings Bees, Honey Supplies    By Terence Chea    August 22, 2014

LOS BANOS, Calif. — California's record drought hasn't been sweet to honeybees, and it's creating a sticky situation for beekeepers and honey buyers. 

The state is traditionally one of the country's largest honey producers, with abundant crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar that bees turn into honey. But the lack of rain has ravaged native plants and forced farmers to scale back crop production, leaving fewer places for honeybees to forage. 

The historic drought, now in its third year, is reducing supplies of California honey, raising prices for consumers and making it harder for beekeepers to earn a living. 

''Our honey crop is severely impacted by the drought, and it does impact our bottom line as a business,'' said Gene Brandi, a beekeeper in Los Banos, a farming town in California's Central Valley. 

The state's deepening drought is having widespread impacts across the state. More than 80 percent of the state is under ''extreme'' or ''exceptional'' drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency, and residents now face fines of up to $500 a day for wasting water. 

The drought is just the latest blow to honeybees, which pollinate about one third of U.S. agricultural crops. In recent years, bee populations worldwide have been decimated by pesticides, parasites and colony collapse disorder, a mysterious phenomenon in which worker bees suddenly disappear. 

The drought is worsening a worldwide shortage of honey that has pushed prices to all-time highs. Over the past eight years, the average retail price for honey has increased 65 percent from $3.83 to $6.32 per pound, according to the National Honey Board. 

Since the drought began, California's honey crop has fallen sharply from 27.5 million pounds in 2010 to 10.9 million pounds last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And this year's crop is expected to be even worse. 

California was the country's leading honey producer as recently as 2003, but it has since been surpassed by North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Florida. In 2013, California produced less than 10 percent of the country's $317 million honey crop. 

On a recent summer morning in Los Banos, swarms of honeybees surrounded Gene Brandi and his son Mike, wearing white helmets with mesh veils, as they cracked open wooden hives and inserted packets of protein supplement to keep the insects healthy. 

This year their colonies have only produced about 10 percent of the honey they make in a good year, said Brandi, who is vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. 

Besides selling honey, beekeepers earn their living from pollinating crops such as almonds, cotton, alfalfa and melons. But farmers are renting fewer hives because the lack of irrigation water has forced them to tear out orchards and leave fields unplanted. 

Like many beekeepers, Brandi is feeding his bees a lot more sugar syrup than usual to compensate for the lack of nectar. The supplemental feed keeps the bees alive, but it's expensive and doesn't produce honey. 

''Not only are you feeding as an expense, but you aren't gaining any income.'' said Brandi's son Mike, who's also a beekeeper. ''If this would persist, you'd see higher food costs, higher pollination fees and unfortunately higher prices for the commodity of honey.'' 

Many California beekeepers, including Gene Brandi's brother, are taking their hives to states such as North Dakota where they can forage in clover and buckwheat fields. 

The drought is hurting businesses such as Marshall's Farm Honey, which supplies raw honey to high-end restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets in Northern California. 

The Napa Valley business is having trouble making and buying enough honey to meet the demands of its customers. Many varieties such as honey made from sage and star-thistle aren't available at all because it's too dry for their flowers to produce nectar. 

''They keep coming back wanting more, and it's very painful to have to say, 'We don't have it,''' said Helene Marshall, who runs the business with her husband Spencer. ''There's increased demand because of increased awareness of how good it is for you, and there is less supply.'' 

Spencer Marshall, who maintains hives throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, said this is by far the worst year for honey production he's seen in five decades of beekeeping. When the drought ends, ''the bees may come back, but the beekeepers may not,'' Marshall said. 

Amelia Barad-Humphries, who owns a restaurant and floral business in Napa Valley, said she's concerned about the drought's impact on bees and honey supplies. She said she eats a teaspoon of local honey every day to keep her allergies in check and she relies on bees to pollinate her backyard garden. 

''We need honeybees for everything,'' she said. ''People should be paying attention.''

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National Honey Board Calls for Research Proposals to Seek Ways to Increase US Honey Production

This message brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ: Kim Flottum  July 21, 2014

Firestone, Colo., July 21, 2014 – The National Honey Board has issued a call for research proposals to study how to increase U.S. honey production. The goal of the study will be to provide the National Honey Board as well as the U.S. honey and beekeeping industry with possible strategies and action steps to proactively address ways of increasing U.S. honey production. The amount being considered by the Honey Board is in the healthy five figures, according to Bruce Boynton,Chief Executive Officer.

“Many ideas have been mentioned as possible causes of declining honey production,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “This project could take any one of several directions, from looking into declining forage, changes in agricultural crops, re-seeding with crops that are less favorable to honey production, and challenges to maintaining the health of the honeybees.”

The deadline for proposals is October 15, 2014. Proposals will be reviewed and considered for funding in the Board’s calendar year 2015 budget.

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs.

CATCH THE BUZZ by Kim Flottum: Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping, published by the A.I. Root Company. Twitter.FacebookBee Culture’s Blog.