Mississippi Honey Regulation Changes
We support the recommendations of the honey producers advisory council as set up by House Bill 1333 stating: being that honey is a raw agricultural commodity persons who produce, sell, and pack honey shall not be inspected unless requested by the producer
mISSISSIPPI hONEY pRODUCERS ADVISORY COUNCIL
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE
Findings and Recommendation of the Honey Producers Advisory Council
The 2018 Legislature passed House Bill 1333 to provide for a Honey Producers Advisory Council made up of ten members of the Executive Board of the Mississippi Beekeepers Association. The purpose of the Council was to review the laws and regulations related to the industry and prepare and develop any findings and recommendations for the Legislature by November 30, 2018.
In accordance with written notice emailed to all members, the Council held three meetings to further the Legislature’s intent on May 24, 2018; August 29, 2018; and September 25, 2018. The Council received comments from its members, as well as, information from the staffs of the Mississippi State Department of Health, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Mississippi State University Extension. Minutes of the meetings are attached hereto as Exhibits “A,” “B,” and “C”.
After careful review of the information presented to it, the Council submits the following findings and recommendation to the Legislature for consideration in the 2019 Session.
- The current law provides an exemption from inspection by the Health Department for
- The terms “infrequent casual sales” are not defined in the law and have been interpreted by the Health Department to mean directly from the producer to the consumer. This interpretation does not allow for the sale of exempted honey by producers to retail establishments and food service establishments. The beekeepers maintain that the intent of the statute was for the sale of small amounts of honey to be sold to retail food establishments and food service establishments. This Council believes that the exemption terminology is ambiguous and needs clarification.
- The new federal regulation adopted pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) found in 21 C.F.R. 117 exempts farmers packing raw agricultural commodities from inspection.
- Since beekeepers are farmers and pure honey is a raw agricultural commodity, beekeepers are exempt from inspection.
- The Council believes that the current state law referenced in subsection 1 above must be amended to bring state law into alignment with the new federal law.
Persons who make infrequent casual sales of honey and who pack or sell less than five hundred (500) gallons of honey per year, and those persons shall not be inspected by the State Department of Health unless requested by the producer. Miss. Code Ann. §41-3-18(2)(b) (2013).
The Honey Producers Advisory Council recommends striking the current exemption in Miss. Code Ann. §41-3-18(2)(b) and amending it by adding the underlined new language:
(b) Persons who make infrequent casual sales of honey and who pack or sell less than five hundred (500) gallons of honey per year, and those persons shall not be inspected by the State Department of Health unless requested by the producer. Being that honey is a raw agricultural commodity, persons who produce, sell and pack honey shall not be inspected unless requested by the producer.
MS Honey Producers Advisory Council