New Honey Labeling Rules Proposed by the FDA
On April 8, 2014 the FDA set new draft guidelines for what can be called pure honey. In the past some of the honey on store shelves, either US-made or imported, did not have to have labeling that indicated anything other than that honey was in their product. Now honey would be labeled as having added sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, or other additions if these ingredients are used. It must also say that it is a “honey blend” and not pure honey. The Food and Drug Administration also says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.
The proposal’s aim is “to advise the regulated food industry on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that honey and honey products are not adulterated or mis-branded,” the FDA wrote.
It is estimated that the U.S. imports the majority of the 400 million pounds of honey we consume each year. To meet this demand there were concerns that cheap substitutes are being manufactured. Only 149 million pounds of honey were produced in this country last year, so the difference had to be made up somewhere.
The FDA decided to look at the question of adulterated honey after a petition from the American Beekeeping Federation and other groups asked for a standard definition of honey to promote fair trade. The agency did not agree on the fair trade issue, but decided to review labeling.
Honey makers now have 60 days to comment on the proposal before the final rules are issued. And even then, the guidelines aren’t mandatory. It only allows for the FDA to make an official statement on the matter.
If you are concerned about what you’re getting in your honey and want to avoid corn syrup and other sweeteners, look no further than local honey producers who offer pure sweet honey from local sources. Visit your farmers’ market and talk with your local beekeepers to find out how they produce their honey.
Read details on the FDA's new honey regulations here.
Click here to find out more about filtered and adulterated honey and find out what you’re really buying at the grocery store.