In a letter from the FDA dated Oct. 14, 2011, the agency has once again, denied the major industry groups petition for a national standard. Was anyone surprised by the news? No. Since 2006 when the Petition was submitted, the FDA has been courteous,
almost to a fault, always sending hints that “this year” beekeepers and honey packers would get their standard, and every year, the answer was the same; no…
Dedicated beekeepers across the U.S. gave up on the FDA in 2007 and decided to do for themselves what their government would not do for them; they started campaigning for state-adopted honey standards. Florida was the first, followed soon after by
California. Since that time Wisconsin, Utah, and the most recent state, Nebraska, now have standards of identity for honey (North Carolina recently adopted an impressive state association standard).
What’s even more impressive are the number of states which have the issue before their legislature or departments of agriculture: Texas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Missouri, New York, Montana, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee.
Beekeepers in Georgia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts are working to begin discussions in their state associations or farm bureaus.
As every state legislative session convenes, more and more of these states will get a honey standard. Do these dedicated men and women believe their state honey standard will assure that never again will a consumer end up purchasing a jar of adulterated honey?
No. The mantra of the FDR years, “The government is your friend; the government will protect you” is no more. We live in a global economy where neither the federal nor state governments will ever again, or at least not for a long time, be able to protect
their citizenry from those who put our food supply at risk or sell our consumers deceptive products, or in the case of honey, adulterated junk.
Beekeepers who lick their wounds in private and say “things will be better next year” will end up with next year no better than the first. Fortunately, staunch supporters of honey standards have refused to be defeated. Sue Daly in Ohio, Pat Bono in New York,
Byron Rice in Maryland and many other hard-working, good ole stubborn beekeepers know that having a state honey standard is better than having nothing at all.
With so many states working on standards, it has been hard maintaining an accurate list of what states are involved in the initiative and who is spearheading the project. The more information I have about what is happening in a state, the better I can lend
support and make sure all beekeepers in a state are aware of each other’s work. I would appreciate it very much if you could both contact me by phone or email, and let me know how goes the fight. The only hope left for the preservation of honey lies in the
adoption of state standards of identity for honey.