Honey and bee product processing

Find information about the legal requirements you need to meet if you are a primary or secondary processor of honey and bee products.


Legal requirements

All businesses dealing with honey and bee products must meet legal requirements. The requirements that apply to your business depend on what you're doing. Read the pages relevant to your business to find out the specific requirements. See the road map for a brief summary:

If you process, store, sell, or export honey or other bee products, you must comply with food safety requirements under one or both of the following acts:

  • Food Act 2014
  • Animal Products Act 1999

Beekeepers who don't sell or export their products 

If you are a hobbyist beekeeper who produces honey and other bee products for your own consumption, you don't need to operate under the Animal Products Act 1999 or the Food Act 2014. But to ensure that your honey is safe to eat, MPI recommends that you use one of the 5 options described in parts 2.3 – 2.7 of the standard for managing tutin contamination in honey.

Note that donating or bartering your honey is a form of trade. If you do either, you must comply with the relevant requirements.

All honey producers and packers must manage tutin contamination

If you are a beekeeper or if you pack honey for sale or export, you must ensure that your honey does not exceed maximum levels for tutin contamination. You must also meet the requirements of the standard for managing tutin contamination in honey.

Bee product businesses that operate under the Food Act

You must meet requirements under the Food Act 2014 if you extract or pack bee products that are intended for

  • sale only in New Zealand, or
  • export to countries that do not require official assurances (export certificates).

You need to have an applicable risk-based measure in place to comply with the Food Act. Although it's not a requirement, you have the option of operating under a Risk Management Programme (RMP). Doing so means you don't need to meet the requirements for a Food Act risk-based measure.

Bee product businesses that operate under the Animal Products Act

If your bee products are intended for export to countries that require official assurances (export certificates), you must meet requirements under the Animal Products Act 1999. This applies to people who

  • extract honey
  • store honey or honeycomb
  • pack honey or honeycomb
  • process or pack royal jelly, pollen, or propolis.

To comply, you must

  • have a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP), which is usually based on a template using a Code of Practice (COP)
  • participate in the residues monitoring programme, which tests for contaminants in bee products (this is governed by a Regulated Control Scheme)
  • meet general requirements for export and any overseas market access requirements (OMARs)
  • pay relevant fees and charges.
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