Find out what you need on your honey labels
All honey labels in the U.S. must adhere to federal regulations. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not have any specific federal legislation so you must follow the FDA legislation for food labels. They do offer some additional guidance for honey labels on top of the required FDA regulations.
Accurate, consistent labeling of honey packaging and honey products ensures that the products are not adulterated or misbranded. It will also enhance your consumers’ ability to make an informed choice, according to the FDA.
In this article, we’ve put together an easy-to-read guide on what you must have on your honey packaging, as well as other items that are good to have. We also included this handy PDF that you can print out featuring required and optional items.
We recommend you check FDA guidelines for any changes or updates before doing any labeling. Also, be sure to check with your state’s Department of Agriculture for labeling requirements as many states have their own specific requirements.
The FDA offers two options for honey labeling. You can place all required label statements on the principal display panel (PDP). The PDP is the portion of your packaging that is most likely to be seen by consumers at the time of purchase. Or you can place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other required items on an information panel immediately to the right of the PDP.
What you must have on your PDP label
1. Common name
This is what your product is – honey. It must be included on the Product Display Panel (PDP) of your product. This is not the brand or trade name but it must be easy to locate and see. It doesn’t have to be on the inner container of a product, but putting it in both places is often helpful to consumers.
Honey with sweeteners
Honey containing a sweetener cannot be labeled with the common
or usual name “honey”. You must describe the name of your honey to distinguish it from simply “honey”. For example “Blend of honey and corn syrup,” if there is more honey than corn syrup. Or “Blend of corn syrup and honey” if your product contains more corn syrup than honey.
You will also need to list the common name of each sweetener in the ingredient statement listed in descending order of predominance by weight.
Honey with Flavors
If you use any direct or indirect representations of flavors on your label using words or images – other than through the statement of ingredients – your honey is considered to have a characterizing flavor and must be labeled as such. The name should accurately describe the honey with its characterizing flavor, such as “ginger-flavored honey”. And, as mentioned above with sweeteners, you must include the flavor in the ingredient statement in descending order by weight.
2. Net weight
You must state the amount of the actual product without any of the packaging or container. Measure your honey by weight. The net contents must appear within the bottom 30% of the PDP of the outer container and on an informational panel on an inner container.
What to include on the information label
Place the information panel label directly to the right of the PDP. If your honey jar doesn’t have space, then the information label needs to be on the next available area directly to the right of the PDP. Include the items below on your PDP label if you have room.
1. The name, address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor
Sometimes called the “signature line” customers must have a way to contact the manufacturer or distributor. The name and address are required on an informational panel on both the outer and inner packaging of your honey.
This information must appear on the information panel or the PDP. If space permits include the full address and telephone number. The information must be in a type size that is at least 1/16 of an inch tall.
2. Ingredient declaration
If you have any other ingredients in your honey, besides honey, you must include them on an informational panel or on the PDP. There are some exceptions such as spices, flavorings, and incidental additives, which have special rules.
Use letters that are at least 1/16 inch in height. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background so as to be easy to read. Smaller type sizes may be used for information panel labeling on very small food packages.
You can’t add information that isn’t required by FDA between the required labeling and information panel. This is considered intervening material and can be as simple as an image or small text.
Optional honey labeling information
There are many items you can include on your honey label to help consumers. None of the items below are required by the FDA but can add value to your honey in certain situations.
Brand: The FDA does not require your brand to be on your label but obviously if you want repeat sales, including your brand name on the PDP is a good idea.
U.S. Grade: Adding the Grade of your honey to your label is also voluntary but can increase sales if you have a high grade. Grade is primarily assessing the moisture and color of your honey. If you use a grade, it must be accurate and must declare the country of origin.
Warnings: It isn’t required by regulation but a warning statement on your honey labels indicating “Do not feed to infants under one year of age” is a good idea. Naturally occurring Clostridium botulinum spores that are present in some honey can be fatal for some infants.
Source of honey: You may include the source where your honey came from such as “Clover Honey” on the label but it is not required. Make sure any claims you make are truthful and not misleading.
Honey nutrition facts: You are exempt from including a nutritional information label on your honey if:
- The honey is offered for sale by a person who makes direct sales to consumers and who has annual gross sales/business done of not more than $500,000
- The honey is offered for sale by a person who has annual gross sales/business done in sales of food to consumers of not more than $50,000
- Your honey does not bear any nutrition claims
- Company producing the honey employed fewer than 100 full-time equivalent employees and fewer than 100,000 units of product were sold in the U.S.
Country of Origin: Imported honey must include the country it came from.
How to make your honey labels
Once you’ve confirmed everything you want to include on your honey label, Avery can make the rest easy.
Avery recommends waterproof labels that can stand up to washing and won’t peel or wrinkle for labeling honey jars and honey bottles. You can also order squeezable film labels on rolls from WePrint for squeeze bottles or unique shapes.
If you have any questions about what label material to choose or how to get the right size label, feel free to call our Customer Care Team at (800) 462-8379 and they’ll be happy to answer your questions.