So you’re thinking of starting your honey business?
Since there are a lot of new beekeepers this season, the legalities of honey selling is always a question. One of the most important parts of honey selling are the requirements on honey labels. We will discuss each one and see which parts are mandatory and which ones are optional!
Honey Label Parts
The information on the requirements on honey labels are indicated on the Food Standards Code. Complying to these requirements allows you to sell honey legally. Most beekeepers will even call you out for legalities, so it is best to be well-informed.
Name of the Food
A product that is sold as honey must be
- Be honey
- Containing no less than 60% reducing sugars
- No more than 21% moisture
You can also add in any flavour depending on the floral source, for example, Manuka honey, Jarrah honey or Marri honey. Ensure that this information is accurate!
The batch number is important to help trace products in the event of a recall. Honey recalls are rare due to its stable properties, however it does not exempt it from requirements.
The batch number is defined as the quantity of product prepared and packed under the same conditions, during a specific time not exceeding 24 hours.
Name and Address of Supplier
Your labels should include your name or company name and address. The label should include a full street address, including the street number, street name, suburb and state. You cannot use a PO box number, a website address or social media links. However, you can add in website details and social media links for more helpful information.
The supplier address can be the packer, manufacturer or vendor of the product. It will also be helpful to add in a phone number or email address, however they are not required.
Ingredients for honey labelling are easy. When there are no add-ins, the key ingredient is honey. You can label it as “100% Pure Honey”, given that there are no additional ingredients.
However, when you do add in flavourings such as cinnamon or vanilla, then they have to be declared as ingredients. Ingredients are listed in the order of descending weight.
Best Before Date
We know what you’re thinking, we all know honey can withstand long periods of time. The Food Standards Code indicates best before dates are not required on food with a best before date of 2 years of more. This means that date marking is completely optional for honey.
If you think about it, honey can remain sellable after two years given that the packaging is intact and stored in good conditions. If you wish to add in a best before date, you’re only required to use the month and year.
Directions for Use and Storage
The Food Standards Code indicates that it is a requirement to include a direction for use and storage statement if specific storage conditions are required to ensure that the product can be kept until the best before date or for health and safety reasons.
With honey, it is a stable product that can withstand a variety of conditions and does not require a best before date. If you choose to include directions for use and storage on your label, you can put in a statement that says “Store below 25°” or “Store in a dry place”.
This section on the honey label must be in the prescribed format by the Food Standards Code. There is also a nutritional label calculator that can help you generate your nutritional information that can go straight to your label. You can view here to use the calculator.
Country of Origin
The laws regarding the Country of Origin Labelling has since been updated last 2018. The law says that it is required to include a country of origin labelling for products that are food for human consumption sold in Australia.
Luckily for us, the wonders of technology have made this accessible for everyone. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has generated an online tool that will create a country of origin label for you.
For honey produced in Australia, it is acceptable for you to use the “Australian Honey” label or wording such as “Product of Australia”. However, if you are using imported added ingredients such as for flavour, this should be declared on the online tool. When this information is provided, the online tool will change the provided options accordingly. Remember, it is a serious offence if anyone does not declare imported ingredients and claim “Australian Honey”.
These options are available for you to choose from the online tool. If you think you’ll be lost navigating this tool, the website provides detailed information on how to use it.
Weight and Measurements
In Australia, the weights of products are usually expressed in kilograms or grams and would usually indicate the net weight of the product. These declarations are regulated by the Australian National Measurement Institute.
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