HB 2329 – Honey production operations and the harvesting and packaging of honey and honeycomb

Bill Information:
HB 2329 (Ernest Bailes) Relating to honey production operations and the harvesting and
packaging of honey and honeycomb.

Why does it matter to TBA?
In January 2022, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) communicated to TBA their concerns regarding statutory language in Chapter 437 of the Health and Safety Code related to the 2015 small honey production operation bill that was more restrictive for honey sales than current DSHS regulations. They suggested the conflicting language could result in unintended enforcement issues and that it would be beneficial to clean up the moot language.

TBA believes it is in the best interest of beekeepers to codify the current DSHS position with respect to selling honey and honey comb so that honey producers are not subject to changing regulations and unnecessary licensing requirements in the future.

Bill History:
TBA approached Rep. Bailes in August 2022 to work on a cleanup bill as suggested by the DSHS. The bill was filed after review by DSHS.

Bill Analysis:
In August 2017, Texas finalized the adoption of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for manufactured foods. 2017 FSMA guidance documents related to honey production stated the following:

B.1.21 Am I required to register if I extract and bottle honey produced on my farm (i.e., remove the wax seal and spin the honey out of the honeycomb, then bottle the honey)?
No. Many activities associated with beekeeping and honey production are within the “farm” definition and therefore do not require registration. In this case, extracting honey is considered harvesting and bottling honey is packaging a RAC (raw agricultural commodity), which is a type of manufacturing/processing included within the “farm” definition.

In July 2020, DSHS issued their guidance with respect to honey producers and adopted the FSMA guidance. This bill closely mirrors the current position of DSHS with respect to honey producers.

We believe the current position of FSMA and DSHS is reasonable and in the best interest of Texas beekeepers.

TBA supports this bill.