Labelling and the Honey Regulations

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Field Bee
Jul 18, 2009
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After reading and trying to digest the Honey Regulations, I have a question about locality.

The regulations state:
“4.3 (ii) Regional, territorial or topographical origin: provided that the honey comes entirely from the indicated source.”

If your hives are in the centre of a county, then you could obviously label that honey as "your county Honey", but what if your hives are sited very close to the border of another county or even country (England/Wales/Scotland)? Should they be labelled as from multiple sources?

When considering the forage distance of bees when applying to labelling, what distance should be used 1.5 miles, 2 miles I have seen quotes of six miles (extreme?) plus.

Whilst this may be largely academic, if you wanted to label the regional aspect much more locally ie to a town or borough etc, then the forage distance becomes extremely important.

What is everybody's thoughts on this?
Often it is obvious where virtually all the foraging is occurring. Planting the hives in the middle of a large field of OSR will almost certainly mean OSR honey in filled supers during that particular flow. Be honest and include the word 'mostly', or similar.

With regards siting, county wise, just say 'from Lincolnshire bees', or wherever, they are based. I am close to Rutland, Northamptonshire and Cambs borders and keep bees in at least two of those. If they fly out of the county, are you expected to know that? It is the blatantly dishonest descriptions which are naughty and attract compaints. If you claim it to be 100% OSR honey and there is other pollen types in abundance in the honey it is easily demonstrated that the claim is wrong. So just describe it honestly and leave room for the minor constituents. Never make a claim that can be disproved.

Regards, RAB
I think the regs say the regional description refers to where the honey was harvested. This means where the hive is, so it doesn't matter where the bees fly. (Bees harvest nectar not honey so it's not referring to the foraging at all).
But this can create ambiguities in other scenarios. For example, most beekeepers going to the heather will wait to harvest it until the bees are back home. Should I say "Worcestershire Heather Honey" on the label?
"Harvested" I had completely missed that point.

Cannot see the wood for the trees syndrome

Thanks for your replies.
I wouldn't worry about it. I lable my honey as "Kingsbridge Honey" including the honey I get from OSR which grows several miles outide the town.

The general rules for food are "where it was last processed". This is why you could set up a bottling plant in Italy, buy your olive oil in bulk from Albania and sell it as "Italian Olive Oil" as it would have been bottled in Italy. You most certainly can't do this for honey, but I am sure you could describe the honey based on where the hives are kept.
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An awful lot of "prime scotch beef" has only spent a couple of days in Scotland too;)

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