“The product name of a relevant honey may be supplemented by information relating to its regional, territorial or topographical origin but no person may trade in a relevant honey for which such supplemental information is provided unless the product comes entirely from the indicated origin”

This quote comes from the The Honey (England) Regulations 2015.  But what does it mean?

Product names

Well the ‘product names’ are listed in the Regulation:

(a) baker’s honey;
(b) blossom honey;
(c) chunk honey;
(d) comb honey;
(e) cut comb in honey;
(f) drained honey;
(g) extracted honey;
(h) filtered honey;
(i) honeydew honey;
(j) nectar honey;
(k) pressed honey.

So, is that it?  Well no because the name “Honey” may be used by itself.

Origin

This is usually added as a prefix for example “Herefordshire Honey”, or “Welsh Honey”, or “Mountain Honey” but could also be in the form “Honey from the Surrey Hills”.

Some customers have asked for even more local geographic product names and requests might look like “York Honey” – would that be regional?

Other customers want to include the name of their property e.g. “3 Sunnybank Honey” [my own address] or the name of their farm.  It could be argued this might qualify under the “territorial” defined in en.oxforddictionaries.com as “Relating to the ownership of an area of land or sea.” but I doubt and do not recommend it.

The interpretation of the regulations would be by local Trading Standards officer who probably are not familiar with honey production or the detail of the regulations.

Penalties

Also defined in the Regulations “If an authorised officer of a food authority has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is failing to comply with any of regulations 6 to 17 of the Honey (England) Regulations 2015, the authorised officer may, by a notice served on that person (in this Act referred to as an “improvement notice”)” and.

(a) state the officer’s grounds for believing that the person is failing to comply with the relevant provision;
(b) specify the matters which constitute the person’s
failure so to comply;
(c) specify the measures which, in the officer’s
opinion, the person must take in order to secure
compliance; and
(d) require the person to take those measures, or
measures that are at least equivalent to them,
within such period (not being less than 14 days)
as may be specified in the notice.”

So, you have to relabel your honey.

Conclusion

The regulations are open to interpretation if your hives are located in a “territorial region” then I can not see that, provided there is no attempt to mislead, then it might be acceptable to use a local name.

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in the above are my own personal opinion but should not be used as a final or legal opinion on the regulations. Beekeepers must make their own decision based on their interpretation of the Regulations.

John Dudman