I would like to draw your attention to the compositional and quality standards imposed by the European Union. These standards are very similar to those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s Worldwide Standard for Honey and the requirements of all the major importing countries.
Please see the European Union Council Directive 2001/110/EC of 20 December 2001, on honey*. Its provisions have to be brought into the national law of each EU member state by August 2003.
Any honey intended for import by an EU country must comply with the definition given in the Directive and must be free of non-honey syrups. The beekeeper must ensure the hive is free of any syrups used in feeding before honey is harvested from the hive.
Residues of antibiotic drugs in honey are illegal and must not be present. Antibiotics must not be used in bee husbandry unless a sufficiently long withdrawal period is used to ensure that no residues occur in the honey.
Some anti-Varroa drugs are permitted in honey, namely formic acid, lactic acid, thymol, menthol, mixed oils, flumethrin and fluvalinate without limit, coumaphos up to a limit of 100 parts per billion and amitraz up to 200 parts per billion. You will no doubt be aware of any differences from your own national legislation.
Importers and packers in the UK have to meet the stringent standards imposed by their customers and the enforcement authorities. The Honey Association wishes to work closely with beekeepers to ensure honey of a high quality is achieved by producers. Any technical query about the EU requirements may be addressed to me at the addresses below.
Technical Advisor, The Honey Association (UK)
Secretary, International Honey Commission
32 West Avenue, Hayes UB3 2EY, UK,
* The EU’s Council Directive 2001/110/EC is at http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex (select official journal and then enter the reference for the Directive, published 12.1.2002, L series, L10/47 to L10/52.
[Bees for Development Journal #66]