The Indian government has introduced the Draft Honey Grading and Marking Rules, 2023. These rules establish comprehensive guidelines for the grading, packing, labeling, and certification of honey products. These rules were published on December 6, 2023.
Defining Honey and Its Varieties
The rules defines honey as a natural sweet substance produced by honey bees. It involves the collection, transformation, deposition, dehydration, and maturation of nectar from plants or secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant-sucking insects.
The regulations categorize honey into three main types:
- Blossom Honey or Nectar Honey: Derived from the nectars of plants.
- Honeydew Honey: Mainly sourced from the excretions of plant-sucking insects or secretions of living plant parts.
- Carvia Callosa Honey: Derived from the Carvia calossa plant’s flower, characterized by its thixotropic and gel-like nature when still, turning liquid when agitated or stirred.
The rules specify guidelines for packing honey, emphasizing compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. Containers must be free from poisonous substances, insect infestation, fungus contamination, and any undesirable odors or flavors. Screwed caps must be made of non-corrosive and non-reactive materials.
The labeling of honey products must adhere to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations, 2020. Each package should prominently display the grade designation mark along with essential details such as the name of the commodity, grade, variety or trade name (optional), lot/batch number, date of packing, nutritional information, net weight, packer’s details, maximum retail price, and best before date. The ink used for marking should not contaminate the honey.
Special Conditions for Authorization
Authorized packers must meet specific conditions, including setting up a laboratory or having access to an approved state grading laboratory for quality testing. Premises must be maintained hygienically, with proper storage facilities and compliance with guidelines issued by the Agricultural Marketing Adviser.
These rules mark a significant step towards ensuring the quality and safety of honey in the market, providing consumers with transparent information about the products they purchase and consume. The regulations aim to bolster consumer confidence and elevate the standards of honey products available in the market.