Comb Honey Grades and Standards

  1. U.S. Fancy comb-section honey shall consist of comb-section honey that meets the following requirements:
a. The comb shall-
1) Have no uncapped cells except in the row attached to the woo section;
2) Be attacked to 75 percent of the adjacent area of the wood section if the outside row of cells is empty, or attached to 50 percent if the outside row is filled with honey;
3) Not project beyond the edge of the wood section;
4) Not have dry holes;
5) Have not more than a total of 2-1/2 linear inches of through holes;
6) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be dry and free from weeping and from damage caused by bruising or other means.
2) Present a uniformly even appearance except in the row attached to the wood section.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for this grade in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall 
1) Be uniform in color throughout the comb.
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The wood section shall-
1) Be as free from excessive propolis and/or pronounced stains as illustration A in the official color chart.
2) Be smooth and new in appearance, of white to light buff basswood, and shall not contain knots and/or streaks in excess of the amount shown in illustration B in the color chart.
f. The minimum net weight shall be 12 ounces, unless otherwise specified.
  1. U.S. No. 1 comb-section honey shall consist of comb-section honey that meets the following requirements:

a. The comb shall-
1) Have no uncapped cells except-
i. In the row attached to the wood section, and/or
ii. In the row adjoining the outside row, in the corners, and along the lower edge, provided the number does not exceed 15 in a comb section.
2) Be attached to 50 percent of the adjacent area of the wood section;
3) Not project beyond the edge of the wood section;
4) Have no dry holes;
5) Have not more than a total of 4 linear inches of through holes;
6) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall 
1) Be dry and free from weeping and from damage caused by bruising or other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance except in the row attached to the wood section and except for slight irregularities affecting not to exceed one-half of the comb surface.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for this grade in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be fairly uniform in color throughout the comb;
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The wood section shall-
1) Be as free from excessive propolis and/or pronounced stains as illustration A in the official color chart;
2) Be smooth and new in appearance, of white to light buff basswood, and shall not contain knots and/or streaks in excess of the amount shown in illustration B in the color chart.
f. The minimum net weight shall be 11 ounces, unless otherwise specified.
  1. U.S. No. 1 Mixed Color comb-section honey. When sections of U.S. No. 1 comb-section honey of different colors are packed in the same container, they shall be designated as U.S. No. 1 Mixed Color comb-section honey.

  2. U.S. No. 2 comb-section honey shall consist of comb-section honey that meets the following requirements:

a. The comb shall-
1) Have no uncapped cells except-
i. In the row attached to the wood section, and/or
ii. In the row adjoining the outside row, in the corners, and along the lower edge, provided the number does not exceed 30 in a comb section.
iii. Elsewhere in the body of the comb, not more than 5; of the total number of uncapped cells exclusive of those in the outside row, not more than 20 may be empty;
2) Be attached to 50 percent of the adjacent area of the wood section;
3) Not project beyond the edge of the wood section;
4) Have no dry holes larger than three-eighths inch across if more than 1-3/8 inches from the wood section;
5) Have not more than a total of 6 linear inches of through holes;
6) Be free from serious damage caused by cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Not be badly bruised, marred, or leaking (small holes cut in cappings or small broken surfaces permitted.
2) Have no requirements as to uniformly even appearance.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for this grade in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Have no requirements as to uniformity in color in any of the comb sections;
2) Be free from serious damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The wood section shall-
1) Be as free from excessive propolis and/or pronounced stains as illustration A in the official color chart;
2) Be new in appearance, unless otherwise specified.
f. The minimum net weight shall be 10 ounces, unless otherwise specified.
  1. Unclassified comb-section honey shall consist of comb-section honey that does not conform to the requirements for any of the foregoing grades.

  2. U.S. Fancy shallow-frame comb honey shall consist of shallow-frame comb honey that meets the following requirements:

a. The comb shall-
1) Be produced in shallow frame spaced 1-3/8 inches from center to center, which will give a comb thickness of not less than 1 inch, unless otherwise specified;
2) Be drawn out on foundation which is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compares favorably in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
3) Be well built out;
4) Never have contained brood;
5) Have no dry holes;
6) Have no uncapped cells, except as follows-
i. Empty cells in the row attached to the frame, and/or
ii. 150 uncapped cells filled with well-ripened honey in the adjoining row;
7) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Not be broken or damaged by other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. Fancy comb-section honey in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Uniform in color throughout the combs of the lot, unless otherwise specified;
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
  1. U.S. No. 1 shallow-frame comb honey shall consist of shallow-frame comb honey that meets the following requirements.

a. The comb shall-
1) Be produced in shallow frame spaced 1-3/8 inches from center to center, which will give a comb thickness of not less than 1 inch, unless otherwise specified;
2) Be drawn out on foundation which is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compares favorably in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
3) Never have contained brood;
4) Have no uncapped cells, except as follows-
i. Empty cells in the row attached to the frame and in the adjoining row, and/or
ii. Additional uncapped filled cells, provided they are confined to groups and in the aggregate do not cover over 10 percent of the comb surface in any frame;
5) Be free from damage caused by cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be free from serious damage caused by being broken or by other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance except for slight irregularities affecting not to exceed one-half of the comb surface.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. No. 1 comb-section honey in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be fairly uniform in color throughout the comb;
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
  1. Unclassified shallow-frame comb honey shall consist of shallow-frame comb honey that does not conform to the requirements for either of the foregoing grades.

  2. U.S. Fancy wrapped cut-comb honey shall consist of wrapped cut-comb honey that meets the following requirements:
a. The comb shall-
1) Be drawn out on foundation that is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compared favorable in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
2) Have no uncapped cells except on the cut edges;
3) Never have contained brood;
4) Have no dry holes;
5) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be free from weeping and from damage caused by bruising or other means,
2) Present a uniformly even appearance
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. Fancy comb-section honey in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be uniform in color throughout the comb;
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The wrapper shall be transparent, clean, and sealed in such a manner as to prevent leakage.
f. The minimum new weight shall be 12 ounces, unless otherwise specified.
  1. U.S. No. 1 wrapped cut-comb honey shall consist of wrapped cut-comb honey that meets the following requirements:

a. The comb shall-
1) Be drawn out on foundation that is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compares favorably in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
2) Have no uncapped cells; except as follows-
i. On the cut edges, and/or
ii. In the row adjoining the cut edge, provided the number does not exceed 15 in a cut comb;
3) Never have contained brood;
4) Have no dry holes;
5) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be free from weeping and from damage cause by bruising or other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance except for slight irregularities affecting not to exceed one-half of the comb surface.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. Fancy comb-section honey in the official color chart.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be fairly uniform in color throughout the comb;
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The wrapper shall be transparent, clean, and sealed in such a manner as to prevent leakage.
f. The minimum net weight shall be 11 ounces, unless otherwise specified.
  1. Unclassified wrapped cut-comb honey shall consist of cut-comb honey which does not conform to the requirements for either of the foregoing grades.

  2. U.S. Fancy chunk or bulk comb honey packed in tin shall consist of not less than 50 percent by volume of chunk or bulk comb honey, unless otherwise specified, which meets the following requirements:
a. The comb shall-
1) Be drawn out on foundation that is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compares favorably in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
2) Have not more than one uncapped cell per square inch of comb surface;
3) Never have contained brood;
4) Have no dry holes;
5) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be free from damage caused by bruising or other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance.
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. Fancy comb-section honey in the official color chart, except that any amount of watery cappings shall be permitted.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be uniform in color throughout the comb and the color of the honey in the comb shall not be darker color classification of the extracted honey used to make up the total weight.
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The total weight shall be made up with U.S. Fancy extracted honey.
f. The color of the honey within the container shall be designated according to the color of the extracted honey used to make up the total weight.
  1. U.S. No. 1 chunk or bulk comb honey packed in tin shall consist of not less than 50 percent by volume of chunk or bulk comb honey, unless otherwise specified, which meets the following requirements:

a. The comb shall-
1) Be drawn out on foundation that is light in color and is thin enough to produce a comb that compares favorably in texture with the comb in comb-section honey;
2) Have not more than one uncapped cell per square inch of comb surface;
3) Never have contained brood;
4) Have no dry holes;
5) Be free from cells of pollen.
b. The cappings shall-
1) Be free from damage caused by bruising or other means;
2) Present a uniformly even appearance except for slight irregularities affecting not to exceed one-half of the comb surface. 
c. The color of the comb and cappings shall conform to the requirements as illustrated for U.S. No. 1 comb-section honey in the official color chart, except that any amount of watery cappings shall be permitted.
d. The honey shall-
1) Be fairly uniform in color throughout the comb and the color of the honey in the comb shall not be darker than the next darker color classification of the extracted honey used to make up the total weight.
2) Be free from damage caused by granulation, honeydew, poorly ripened or sour honey, objectionable flavor or odor, or other means.
e. The total weight shall be made up with U.S. Fancy extracted honey.
f. The color of the honey within the container shall be designated according to the color of the extracted honey used to make up the total weight.
  1. Unclassified chunk or bulk comb honey packed in tin shall consist of chunk or bulk comb honey that does not conform to the requirements of any of the foregoing grades.

  2. U.S. Fancy chunk or bulk comb honey packed in glass shall consist of chunk or bulk comb honey that conforms to the requirements for this grade when packed in tin, except that no given volume of chunk or bulk comb honey is required.
  3. U.S. No. 1 chunk or bulk comb honey packed in glass shall consist of chunk or bulk comb honey that conforms to the requirements for this grade when packed in tin, except that no given volume of chunk or bulk comb honey is required.

  4. Unclassified chunk or bulk comb honey packed in glass shall consist of chunk or bulk comb honey that does not conform to the requirements of any of the foregoing grades.

Color Standards

The honey color comparator with color standards and empty sample bottles are distributed to area offices from the National office and are commercially available from:
 
Part No. 423405
Price: $156.00
 
X-Rite Incorporated, Munsell Color Services
4300 44th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Telephone: (877) 888-1720, 
Fax: (616) 803-2076, (800)-248-9748

Detailed standards, Inspection Instructions & Other Resources: