Pennsylvania State
Beekeepers Association

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the proposed honey law stand now?

The amendment, HB 956 for a Pa Honey Standard, never came out of committee for 2 years and consequently is dead. A couple reasons it didn't get out of Ag & Rural Affairs Committee.

One, the committee really didn't understand what a standard was to accomplish. We didn't have an advocate or lobbyist to explain it and push it. At one point, Nancy Gentry had offered to me, to advocate on our behalf. My thought was "she's from Florida". Hands-down the best advocate in the nation for honey standard. (Her husband is a class action attorney.) But at the end of the day, we had no one in Pa that knows the topic well enough or could step up to answer all the questions. If we can't carry our own message, why would our legislators try to carry it?

The other thing that happened was the standard language has brought on lawsuits in other states. Our legislators were not willing to implement something that would immediately bring on lawsuits. Their last thought was a standard should be handled by FDA… back to the beginning…

Your question prompted me to include Jill Clark of Dutch Gold. Dutch Gold is PSBA member as well. They are the largest commercial packer in Pa. and likely to be more impacted than the 93% of pa beekeepers that have 25 or fewer colonies. If the small beekeeper has to prove his product, that could be huge. Before Jerry Hayes left Florida Dept of Ag, he replied to my question of how the standard had impacted that state. At the time, he felt it had little impact and very rarely was honey questioned by the average beekeeper or buyer. The lawsuits, arguing the presence/or not of pollen, are much more recent and could drag a long time.

I tried educating myself about the honey standard. Yes, use Florida law as a model is a good plan. But Florida has language specific to specific honeys found in Florida. I don't know who does the analysis or if we have specific honeys of concern in Pa. I still have more questions that need answers. I would want all the language somewhat settled, rewritten or whatever before I would feel comfortable speaking or presenting it.

Charlie Vorisek
Pa State Beekeepers Assoc

~~ More questions to be added later ~~

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