Packed Honey – Country of Origin Labeling

AMS established a regulation addressing country of origin labeling for packed honey bearing any official USDA mark or statement. This law adds a new cause for debarment from inspection and certification of honey.  The regulation is necessary because the 2008 Farm Bill (section 10402 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require country of origin labeling for honey, if it contains official USDA grade marks or statements.  A final rule was published January 4, 2011 and became effective February 3, 2011.

The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Act to require that packaged honey bearing a

  • grade mark or grade statement,
  • continuous inspection mark or statement,
  • sampling mark or statement, or
  • any combination of marks or statements of the Department of Agriculture,

must also bear

  • the countries of origin of the container of honey.

This listing of the countries of origin must be

  • printed legibly and permanently,
  • placed in close proximity, and of comparable size, to the certificate, mark, or statement, and
  • preceded by the words ‘Product of’ or other words of similar meaning.

 A violation of the new requirements may be deemed by the Secretary to be sufficient cause for debarment from the benefits of this Act, such as the use of the grade statements for honey.

An interim final rule became effective October 6, 2009. A final rule was published January 4, 2011, and is effective February 3, 2011.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Nathaniel W. Taylor
Associate Director, Inspection Operations

SCI Division National Office
Fruit and Vegetable Program
Agricultural Marketing Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Room 1536-S, Stop 0240
Washington, D.C. 20250-0240
Telephone: (800) 560-7956
FAX: (202) 720-0393