Cottage Food Requirements for Honey
Labeling | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Additional Resources and Credits

During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature enacted House Bill 7209 allowing individuals to manufacture, sell and store honey in an unlicensed home kitchen. The Cottage Food law became effective on July 1, 2011.

Honey added to the list of cottage foods that can be sold without licensing.  Urban beekeepers are buzzing over the new state law that allows the sale of home-jarred honey.


 

ABC News Article & Video on Cottage Food Law, Honey & Beekeepers

ADDITIONAL LABELING

In addition to the name and address of your honey operation, the name of your product (Wildflower Honey, etc.), and the net weight, you must also have the following statement printed in at least 10-point type in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background label: “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

The following are some samples offered by fellow beekeepers as their interpretation of this requirement.  These samples may be viewed, downloaded, printed, and used at your own risk.  Those submitting, nor the FSBA, are legal experts and make no guarantees that these labels will meet the new cottage food requirements, especially considering differences in printers, fonts, etc. which may result in font size differences.

Note:  1 pt = 1/72"... therefore 10 pt = 10/72 (or 5/38") = .13158" or a tad over 1/8".  Therefore, you must assure that your printout of labels results in the capital letters being over 1/8" tall.

Florida State Beekeepers Association

Pre-Printed, Peel-and-Stick Labels (no cutting required)
Since these require no cutting, then exact sizes may not be the best to fit your smaller containers.


Download, View, Print:  doc format | pdf format

Thanks to friend and fellow Florida beekeeper, Robert Jackson, for creating the above labels which you can print using Avery labels 8167 (peel and stick return address labels). Bob notes that these are 11 point font. 1 point larger than required by the cottage food bill.

 


Download, View, Print:  doc format | pdf format

Pre-Printed, Labels (cutting required):  Cut from full page size (8.5" x 11") sticky label
Since these require cutting, then they can be trimmed more closely to fit your smaller containers.

Download, View, Print:  doc format | pdf format

Download, View, Print:  doc format | pdf format

 

Colorful Hang Tabs Solution for Small Containers

National Honey Board (Honey.com) sells colorful hang tags for about 13 cents each (quantity of 500).  They can be hung on your smaller containers.  However, it is questionable whether you could affix your own cottage food labels to one of the panels of the hang tab, since it is required that the separate cottage food hang tag should be conspicuous and not be part of other statements.  Regardless they are nice hang tags, but probably not much help regarding complying with the cottage food law labeling. See page 3 of their catalog at the following link:

Honey Board Catalog | Additional Honey Labeling Info

 

Lid labels and more at Avery Online

No room on container... don't want the label on the back panel?  A lid label may be the way you wish to consider.  1 1/2" diameter round labels Avery 8293 fit nicely on 43mm or larger honey jar screw on, standard lids.  They don't fit on flip top lids.  Other Avery product labels can be found at the Avery Design and Print Center online.  Easy to design your own and print on your home computer.  They even have a nice demo tutorial on using their online software.
 

View, Download, and Print (pdf) 1 1/2" Round Label Sheet (8293)

Your labels don't have to be plain (black and white),  they just need to be logically clear with text of 10-pt or larger on a sharp contrast background.  Common sense and logical. 

You can BEE creative.  If you print your own labels you have the expense of the printer ink, the peel-and-stick labels, and your time.  You often end up with smudges, paper jams, and labels that can smear or blur if they come in contact with water or moisture.  A better solution may be to order professionally printed matt finish or gloss finish labels, that don't smear or run.  Click here for possibilities.

Florida State Beekeepers Association

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following is not intended to be legal advice from the Florida State Beekeepers Association, but a collection/compilation of information from resources found and paraphrased/summarized from limited information found on the internet (see "Resources" at the end of these FAQs).  Please consult with your legal advisor, local (county and city) agencies, and contact the Florida Division of Food Safety to verify any information contained on this web page:

Question:  As a small-scale honey sales operation, how do I know whether the new Cottage Food Law applies to me?
Answer:  The law applies to those honey sales operations which only sell their honey directly to the consumer and which have gross sales receipts of $15,000.00 or less.  Written documentation of sales may be required upon request.

Question: How am I allowed to sell my honey?
Answer: You may sell your honey from your primary residence (in which you live) directly to the consumer.  You may also sell your honey at farmer's markets, flea markets, and roadside stands provided you are selling directly to the consumer.

Question:  Do I need a special, approved, or inspected kitchen in which to prepare, bottle, and store the honey I sell?
Answer: No, you only need your home's single standard kitchen with common, standard residential design appliances.  You are exempt from state statute permitting requirements.

Question:  Can I sell my honey to others who intend to resell my honey at produce markets, roadside stands, flea markets, farmer's markets, or other market places?
Answer:  No, you cannot sell through a reseller (no middle person), you must sell your honey directly to the consumer.   The law prohibits sale at wholesale level, nor can it be sold on consignment.

Question:  Can I sell my honey to Restaurants or Grocery Stores?
Answer:  No, these type of sales are considered "wholesale" and are not allowed under the law.

Question:  Can I sell my honey on the internet?
Answer:  No, the law prohibits sale over the internet or by mail order.

Question:  Can I sell my honey to consumers by mail order?
Answer:  No, the law prohibits sale by mail order.

Question:  Can I deliver my honey?
Answer:  Yes, you can deliver your honey directly to the consumer or to a specific event venue (convention, fair, meeting, wedding, birthday party, etc.)

Question:  Do I need a state permit or state license for my honey sales operation?
Answer:  No, you do not need a state permit or state license for your honey operation.  However, you should check with your city or county for any requirements they may have.  Besides the state requirements, you must comply with all applicable county and municipal laws and ordinances regulating cottage food products such as honey.

Question:  Is there any limit to how much I can earn from my honey sales operation?
Answer:  Yes, honey sales operators are limited to $15,000.00 in gross sales per year. 

Question:  Are there cottage food labeling requirements for my honey?  
Answer:  Yes, using English language and in clear 10-point type text, on high contrasting background, you must have the following statement, "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations." Labeling on your honey container must also contain:  The name and full physical street address (including zip code, Post Office Boxes are not allowed) of your honey operation (real name of honey producer, fictitious names are not allowed); the name of your product ingredient (HONEY) in bold type; and the net weight in bold type.  Note:  net weight may be abbreviated NET WT. and must be located within the bottom 30% of the label.  Net weight may be pounds and/or ounces, but metric equivalent is not necessary.  Phone numbers are not required and are not a substitute for street address or any other requirements.

Question:  If I use a single, main front panel label, does the new, additional cottage food statement have to be in a certain location of the main label?
Answer:  While the FDACS brochure provides a suggested sample label on which the statement happens to appear at the top of the label, this is just an example.  Unlike the location of net weight which must be specifically located in the bottom 30% of the main front label, the cottage food law does not require that the statement be at the top or in any certain area of the main label.  Again, common sense, it must be easily found, seen, and displayed when combined with your other required information on the front label..

Question:  Does the new, additional cottage food statement have to be part of a single front panel label?
Answer: No, it can be a separate affixed label or hang tag containing the statement "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations." using English language and in clear 10-point type text, on high contrasting background.  It can be placed on back panel, on top (lid), or other visible location.  Common sense would dictate that it must be conspicuous... prominently displayed not hidden, mixed along with, or obscured.

Question:  If I use a separate label containing the new, additional cottage food statement, does it have to be on the front of the honey container?
Answer: No, you may affix a separate label (top lid, back panel, etc.) or use a hang tag.  If you choose to use a separate label or hang tag it must contain no wording or statements other than the required, "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations." in English and in clear 10-point type text, on high contrasting background.  Again, applying common sense, the bottom of the container would be off limits, or the statement combined with other text or sandwiched in a hang tag along with advertisements, recipes, etc. would not be prominent display.  The separate label or hang tag should only contain the required statement and no other statements or text.  You may NOT combine the separate label with nutritional information, crystallization statements, benefits, recipes, or infant consumption warnings.  Nor should you have to open, view the back, or unfold the tag to read the statement.

Question:  Do I need to also have the FDA Nutritional label on the bottles?
Answer: No, you are exempt from FDA Nutritional label requirements, since you sales do not exceed $50,000.00.

Question:  What happens if somebody complains about my honey operation?
Answer:  If your honey operation becomes the subject of a complaint, you must allow a FDACS employee or officer to inspect your operation.  If you refuse to allow the inspection, FDACS may take disciplinary actions which may include a $5,000.00 fine.

Resources:

Cottage Food Guidance Brochure from FDACS | 2011 Florida Statute 500.80 Cottage Food Operations | Honey Industry Labeling Resources | Small Business Nutrition Labeling Exemption by FDA | Net Quantity of Contents FDA Food Labeling Guide | FSBA Cottage Food Law Committee's Report by Roy Smith

Florida State Beekeepers Association

created 02/01/12, rev 09/08/14

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