New Law to Help Hawaiʻi Honey Bee Industry

June 17, 2013, 9:48 AM HST · Updated June 20, 10:33 AM
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Bottling of Maui Natural Bee artisan honey at Kalepa with Helen Neilsen. File photo by: Jonathan Starr.

Bottling of Maui Natural Bee artisan honey at Kalepa with Helen Neilsen. File photo by: Jonathan Starr.

By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie will sign legislation today in an effort to ensure the continued viability of the honeybee industry in the state.

Senate Bill 482 clarifies the maximum number of gallons of honey that can be sold by a certified honey house or food processing establishment, without obtaining a health department permit.

The bill allows the sale of honey directly to retail stores that in turn sell the honey directly to consumers, and exempts the state and counties from liability.

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Under the measure, honey producers are required to include certain wording on labels, take a food safety class, and make records available to the Department of Health.

In Hawai’i, there has reportedly been significant hive loss attributed to the varroa mite, which is considered one of the most serious pests of honeybees.

Loss of bee hives poses at threat to the state’s agricultural economy because of the role bees play in crop pollination.

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