Major’s Bill to Benefit PA Beekeepers Advances to State Senate
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would permit Pennsylvania beekeepers to sell their honey from the farm or homestead where it is processed without the need of going through the state licensing and registration process has overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives, announced Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming), author of House Bill 2565.
“Beekeeping is an integral component of the agricultural community, and the changes made to the food safety laws a couple of years ago could negatively impact small-scale beekeepers,” said Major. “Local beekeepers have contacted me and explained that the registration process and fee currently needed in order to sell honey from the farm or home where it comes from makes it difficult for hobbyist beekeepers to financially continue beekeeping. Although the fee is minimal, beekeepers who choose to sell their honey often do so only to gain enough money to support their beekeeping hobby and any additional fees they pay can be a hardship.”
Major’s House Bill 2565 would exempt from food establishment registration and retail food facility licensing any person who is in compliance with the Honey Sale and Labeling Act and who processes 100 percent of the honey products offered to the public on the farm from which the products are offered.
However, Major noted that beekeepers who wish to sell their honey at farm stands and retail establishments would still need to register and pay a $35 fee. This is because, according to state regulations, any product that sells at a retail establishment (including farm stands) must be properly labeled and come from an “approved source,” which is a designation that is obtained only through proper registration.
House Bill 2565 has the support of the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association. It now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
State Representative Sandra Major
111th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman