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CONTACT: Gene Cross, director
NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division
(919) 733-3933

Charles Heatherly
N.C. State Beekeepers Association
(919) 359-1965

N.C. State Beekeepers Association, NCDA&CS
launch joint effort to target adulterated honey

RALEIGH — The N.C. State Beekeepers Association, working in cooperation with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is taking steps to prevent the sale of honey products containing additives, such as corn syrup, that are marketed as pure honey.

The beekeepers association recently adopted standards for individuals offering honey for sale in the state. The guidelines will apply to all honey produced by honey bees from nectar or honeydew.

When a consumer reports a suspected violation of the standards, representatives of the association’s Honey Standards Board will sample and test the honey for purity, and advise the seller of any potential problems detected.

“Sellers who fail to comply with the standards will be fully reviewed by the standards board and referred to our Food and Drug Protection Division for further review and potential action,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Consumers should feel confident that when they are buying pure honey, they’re getting pure honey.”

Dr. John Ambrose, an N.C. State University entomology professor and former state apiculturist, said: “The adoption of a honey standard is needed for two reasons. There is a clear need to protect the integrity of our honey such that people buying honey will know they are getting the real thing. Secondly, this is an initial step in addressing the increasing problem of honey imported from foreign countries that frequently contains contaminants.”

Beekeepers have been petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt a nationwide honey standard for more than two decades. To date, there has been no resolution at the federal level.

“There have been numerous instances where a product labeled as sourwood honey, a premium honey produced in western North Carolina, has been mislabeled and sold,” said Charles Heatherly, a representative of the beekeepers association. “This joint initiative is expected to greatly curtail those unscrupulous producers that would like to turn a nice profit by labeling an inferior product as sourwood honey, which sells for as much as $10 a pound.”

North Carolina Beekeepers produce an estimated $15 million worth of honey each year, said Dr. David Tarpy, state apiculturist at NCSU. The value of honey bee pollination for North Carolina crops is estimated at $185 million, he said.


NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 733-4216; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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