Labelling honey and bee products

Find out the rules for labelling honey, mānuka honey, and bee products such as propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen.

 

General label rules apply to honey and bee products

When labelling honey, mānuka honey, and bee products such as propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen, or if you use any of these as ingredients, you must follow the general labelling rules.

How to label food and drink

You must also follow some extra rules for honey and bee products.

What may be called 'honey'?

You must only use the word 'honey' to name or describe a naturally sweet substance produced by honey bees when they collect:

  • blossom nectar, or
  • plant secretions, or
  • insect secretions.

Honey bees then transform and combine collected nectar or secretions with their own substances, and store it in the honey comb to mature and ripen.

Honey contains:

  • no less than 60% reducing sugars, and
  • no more than 21% moisture.

Using flower names

If you name the flower your honey comes from on your label, for example, mānuka honey or clover honey, you must be able to prove this.

Proof your honey comes from a specific flower might be, for example, a report from scientific testing.

Health and nutrition claims

You must make sure any statement on your honey label is:

  • truthful and not misleading
  • able to be proven
  • meaningful to consumers.

You must not make therapeutic claims about honey on your label or packaging. For example:

  • antibacterial properties
  • non-peroxide activity (NPA)
  • total peroxide activity (TPA)
  • peroxide activity (PA)
  • total activity (TA) or 'active'.

You can make claims about your honey products having, or not having:

  • a biologically active substance
  • nutrients
  • energy
  • glycaemic index (GI) or glycaemic load
  • a chemical marker, such as methylglyoxal
  • meeting grading measures, such as 5+.

If you make a nutrition content claim on your label, you must include the nutrient your claim is about in your nutrition information panel (NIP).

Nutrition information panels

If you make a health and nutrition claim about honey, you must follow the nutrition and health claim rules.

Health and nutrition claims

Royal jelly warning statement needed

If your product is royal jelly or contains royal jelly, you must include a warning statement on the label.

The statement must:

  • be in writing at least 3mm in height, or 1.5mm in height on a package with a surface area under 100 square cm.
  • use the exact wording, 'This product contains royal jelly which has been reported to cause severe allergic reactions and, in rare cases, fatalities, especially in asthma and allergy sufferers.'

Bee pollen and propolis advisory statements needed

If your product is or contains bee pollen or propolis, you must include an advisory statement on the label.

You may use your own words for this statement. It must say something like:

  • Bee pollen: 'Contains bee pollen which can cause severe allergic reactions.'
  • Propolis: 'Contains propolis which can cause severe allergic reactions.'

Honey does not contain bee pollen or propolis.

Bulk honey labelling

If you sell honey in bulk or transport it between beekeepers and pack houses, you must label it. You must supply enough information with the bulk product, so the retailer can label it properly.

More on labelling honey

This page has honey labelling rules that apply to most food businesses, beekeepers and honey producers. There are exceptions and other rules. Food businesses must read and follow all the rules.

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