Does honey need an identity?

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on how a federal standard of identity for honey would be in the interest of consumers, the honey industry and U.S. agriculture, according to the Aug. 20 Federal Register. The action comes after the Agricultural Act of 2014, the 2014 farm bill, charged the U.S.D.A. secretary with developing a report describing how a standard of identity for honey would be beneficial.

The U.S.D.A. will accept comments until Sept. 19.

Efforts to establish a standard of identity for honey go back to at least 2006. That year members of the honey producing, packaging and importing industries petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to develop a standard of identity. The petition said “a compositional standard of honey will serve as a tool to help combat the economic adulteration of honey.”

The F.D.A., which is responsible for developing standards of identity for commodities, denied the petition on Oct. 5, 2011. The F.D.A. in the Federal Register of April 9 of this year published draft guidance for industry on proper labeling of honey and honey products.

Now, the U.S.D.A. is seeking comments. Written comments may be submitted in various ways:

• via the Internet at

• through the mail to Brian E. Griffin, Standardization Branch, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 0709-South Building, STOP 0247, Washington DC 20250

• through e-mail to

Comments should reference the date and page number of the Federal Register.
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By Janet Luker 9/4/2014 9:56:34 AM
When a company is feeling a pinch to its bottom line on the accounting sheet, there is always the temptation to stretch the food product. Decreasing the costs of raw materials is a good way to accomplish this agenda. Aldulterating honey with cheaper syrups or even a water, offers a cost decrease. I think all products dealing with food should have a standard of identity. This will not stop some people but will give us the ability to test and prove if an ingredient is adulterated (changed) from its original composition.