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Selling Honey in Florida

Honey producers in Florida have two options for selling their honey, beeswax and other hive products.

  1. Large operations must be properly permitted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Food Safety and must bottle honey in an inspected food facility or establishment.
  2. Small scale honey producers might meet may exemption and not require a license if they meet Florida’s cottage food law requirements and bottle in a home kitchen.

Do you meet the Cottage Food Law requirements?

See this page for a detailed explanation of the Florida Section 500.80(5) cottage food laws. If you meet the cottage food law requirements, you  do not require a food permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and are not inspected by any other state government entity.

The conditions for beekeepers to meet the cottage foods status are:

  • do not exceed $50,000 in annual gross sales;
  • sell honey direct to the consumer from the home, a roadside stand, a farmers market, or a flea market (no mail delivery);
  • upon request provide the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with written documentation to verify their operations’ annual gross sales;
  • store all cottage food honey on the premises of the cottage food operation;
  • do not engage in internet, mail order, consignment, or “wholesale” sales; and
  • properly label their cottage foods.

Honey Cottage Food Label Requirements

See this page for the complete Cottage Food labeling requirements, a sample label, and a label template that you can download for free and use.

The Division of Food Safety regulates honey production and honey house standards. Please visit Food Safety's webpage to learn about these requirements, as well as requirements for labeling your honey.. For more information about honey production and marketing, check out the University of Florida's Honey Bee Lab resources.

In general, honey must be prepackaged (bottled or cut comb in containers) with a label affixed that contains the following information (printed in English):

  1. The name and address of the cottage food operation. The beekeeper must list his/her name on the label. No fictitious names are permitted under the cottage food operation legislation. Business names are acceptable.
  2. Full street address of the cottage food operation
  3. The name of the product. The single word “honey” is acceptable.
  4. The ingredients of the cottage food product, in descending order of predominance by weight. If honey contains any flavoring, spice or other added ingredient, then those additives must also appear on the label-for example, “lime essence honey.”
  5. The net weight or net volume of the cottage food product.
  6. Allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements
  7. The following statement must be in at least 10-point type in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background of the label:
    “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

Common Honey Labeling issues

Beware of these common mistakes in labeling your honey (including cottage food operations and honey processing):

  • net contents imust be in the lower 30%, not the upper part of the label;
  • The “Net Weight” statement is specific, follow the requirements carefully;
  • Use a complete address, including the zip code;
  • Don't make exaggerated and unsubstantiated health  benefits or quality claims, like "organic" when you are not NOP-certified or from “pure flower sources"; and
  • Calling a  blended honey a single floral source honey.

Additional Cottage Food Labeling Information

Words to avoid: Avoid any nutritional claims or health related statements on the label (for example “healthy,” “packed with energy,” “low in fat,” “good for allergies”) because such statements would also require the cottage food to display a nutritional content label. There is no official standard for “raw” honey; however, it generally means that the honey has not been filtered or heated. When customers ask for raw honey, they want honey that has only been strained, so avoid labeling or selling honey as “raw” unless it will meet the customer’s expectations.

Never use the words “organic", "certified,” “registered,” or “inspected” on your honey label unless your product has actually been certified, registered, or inspected by an authorized entity. The word “organic” is not just an adjective, nor is it synonymous with “natural.” If you wish to produce or handle agricultural products that can be sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” “made with organic ingredients,” or “USDA Organic,” you must be certified by an accredited certifying agent. See the National Organic Program website for details.

Optional words you may use: Words preceding the word “honey,” such as “pure,” “natural,” or “all natural” are acceptable and reinforce the quality and purity of the product. Honey may also be designated according to floral or plant source (for instance, “orange blossom honey”) if it comes predominately from that particular source and has the scientific properties corresponding with that origin. Beekeepers should avoid preceding the floral source with the word “pure” because bees do not exclusively use one floral source.

Additional Cottage Food Regulations

  • Gross sales of cottage foods are for all foods produced and sold, not just honey. For example, if you sell honey and jam under the cottage food law, the combined gross sales of these products cannot exceed $50,000 annually.
  • Online sales and delivery methods: You may advertise and accept orders and payments online. However, you must physically deliver the cottage food product directly to the consumer yourself . That means you may not sell online and then ship through the mail. However, you may sell honey online and then meet at a farmer’s market for delivery.
  • Raw honey: You can sell raw honey, but ONLY if you harvest the honey from the hives, package and sell the product yourself.
  • Repackaging and reselling honey: You may NOT purchase bulk honey, repackage and sell the bottles of honey. This is considered a manufacturing process and would require a food permit from FDACS
  • Local laws and regs: A cottage food operation must comply with all applicable county and municipal laws and ordinances regulating the preparation, processing, storage, and sale of cottage food products by a cottage food operation or from a person’s residence. Check with local authorities and farmers’ markets before selling to the public.
  • Complaints: The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may investigate any consumer complaint that alleges that a cottage food operation has violated an applicable provision of this chapter or rule adopted under this chapter (Section 500.80 Florida Statutes)
  • Inspections: Only upon receipt of a complaint may the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ authorized officer or employee enter and inspect the premises of a cottage food operation to determine compliance with this chapter and FDACS rules as applicable. for more information, see  Apiary Inspection FAQ


Honey Processing that are NOT claiming and meeting the Cottage Food category

Honey processors whose:

  •  gross sales exceed $50,000 annually and/or
  • sell their honey by internet, mail order, consignment or wholesale

are not exempt under cottage food operations (Section 500.80 Florida Statutes).

These honey processors must be properly permitted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and must bottle honey in a certified food establishment.

Beekeepers owning a food establishment must apply for a Food Permit (see Retail Food Establishment Permitting Requirements: ). And see the minimum construction standards for food establishments in Florida

Beekeepers who do not own a food establishment but want to lease, rent, or use a food establishment for bottling, must submit to FDACS a commissary letter of agreement certifying that the owner of the commissary gives permission to bottle on the premises. The premises will be inspected annually by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Honey must be stored on the commissary premises and not at private residences.

Beekeepers selling their honey at a location other than the commissary are required to hold a Mobile Food Vendor license.

Free copies of these documents may be obtained on the FDACS, Division of Food Safety website or by calling (800)-245-5520.

Honey processors in this category are prohibited from displaying on their label, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

Net quantity of contents on label must be expressed in both metric (grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters) and US Customary System (ounces, pounds, fluid ounces).

Nutritional Labeling

Nutritional labeling is mandatory for most foods.

If you are claiming cottage food or small business exemption; you do not need to meet the nutritional labeling requirement. But do NOTadd terms like "healthy" or "Helps with allergies" on the label.

Small-business exemptions are available for products sold in small volume (fewer than 100,000 units per year) and by small companies (fewer than 100 employees).

But to claim the small business exemption, you MUST apply for the small business exemption. Contact the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Labeling at 301-436-2371 or visit their website for the proper forms.

If you are not an importer, have fewer than 10 full-time employees, and sell fewer than 10,000 total units, you do not have to file a notice of exemption.

If you make nutritional claims or use terms like “healthy” on your label, there must be a nutritional label on the product, even if the product is otherwise exempt.

Whenever a nutrient content claim is made on a label, the claim must be accompanied by a “referral statement” directing the consumer to the panel on which the nutritional fact information is located (for example, “See side panel for nutritional information”).

Contacts for additional help

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,


Phone: (888) 397-1517
Phone: (352) 395-4600 (Outside the U.S.)



Florida Honey Regulatory Definitions

586.02 Definitions. As used in the Florida Honey regs

(1) “Apiary” means a beeyard or site where honeybee hives, honeybees, or honeybee equipment is located.
(2) “Apiculture” means the raising, caring for, and breeding of honeybees.
(3) “Beekeeping equipment” means honeybee hives, frames, supers, pallets, queen excluders, and other equipment which is used in the cultivation of honeybees and the harvesting of products produced by honeybees.
(4) “Certified honey” means honey that is sampled, analyzed, and certified by the department to be primarily of one type from a principal nectar source.
(5) “Colony” means a distinguishable localized population of honeybees in which one or more life stages may be present.
(6) “Compliance agreement” means a written agreement between the department and any person engaged in purchasing, assembling, exchanging, processing, utilizing, treating, or moving beekeeping equipment or honeybees wherein the person agrees to comply with stipulated requirements.
(7) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of the state or its authorized representative.
(8) “Honey” means the natural food product resulting from the harvest of nectar or honeydew by honeybees and the natural activities of the honeybees in processing nectar or honeydew.
(9) “Honeybee pest” means an insect, mite, or other arthropod or a bacterium, fungus, virus, microsporidium, nematode, or other organism that damages or causes abnormalities to honeybees, colonies of honeybees, or beeswax.
(10) “Honeybee products” means honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, and other products resulting from the activities of honeybees.
(11) “Honeydew” means a sweet substance found on leaves of plants, usually a secretion from homopterous insects.
(12) “Nectar” means a sweet solution secreted by the plant extra floral glands (nectaries) or by any part of the flower.
(13) “Regulated article” means any article capable of transporting a honeybee pest or an unwanted race of honeybees.
(14) “Special inspection” means an inspection of honeybees, honeybee products, or beekeeping equipment performed at the request of the beekeeper or honeybee product producer or handler for the purpose of meeting inspection or certification requirements of other states or countries.
(15) “Unwanted race of honeybees” means those natural, genetically isolated subspecies of honeybees which beyond a reasonable doubt can inflict damage to people or animals greater than managed or feral honeybees commonly utilized in North America.
History.—s. 1, ch. 28167, 1953; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 250, ch. 71-377; s. 1, ch. 74-284; s. 4, ch. 83-14; s. 2, ch. 86-62; s. 1, ch. 89-56; s. 939, ch. 97-103; s. 7, ch. 2012-83.