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Author Topic: PA State Honey Processing Rules  (Read 3778 times)
Grandpa Jim
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« on: May 19, 2010, 01:11:01 AM »

We had our local beekeepers organization meeting tonight.  Had the person in charge of the PA State inspection program as a speaker.....excellent and very informative and yes, PA will have inspectors this year (5 1/2 full time inspectors) , no problem with that.  Our inspectors have always been well educated on bees and very  helpful.  PA has decided that extracting honey comes under Home Food Processing and are going to impose the same rules on someone who extracts honey one or two days a year, as someone who bakes in their home several days a week.

I was reading over the Guidance and Requirements for Home Food Processors ( the paper work that was handed out tonight)…..I don't think these people have a clue about beekeeping and honey production.  The first line puts most beekeepers out of the honey business..1. No animals/pets are permitted in the home at any time.  And the application will stop anyone who does not have pets……….  Water test I can sort of let pass, but a certificate from a Certified Sewage Enforcement Officer??  Zoning approval!!!!!   A business plan!!!!!    And an employee health policy!!!!!!  And let's not forget the main thing THE STATES FEES!!!!!    Just so you can sell some of your extra honey at the local farmers market???  OK two more blood pressure pills and I will be good. -------------------OK I'm good.  I don't disagree that some sort of registration would be good, but I think they are going overboard on something that has not (I do not think ever ) caused a food borne illness outbreak.   My head is about to explode and oh how I hate having to use duct tape to hold it all together again.

Someone mentioned Florida had done something like this and was now changing it to better fit beekeeping and honey processing, anyone know anything about that?  I own a food business and have dealt with this since we worked out of our home, 20 years ago, so I understand that when the paper work is all in, allot of it means nothing. But I also know that most beekeepers in our group will stop selling their honey before they even fill out the 5 pages of the application.  A business plan and zoning approval to extract honey 2 days a year??  Can we just be reasonable??


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lotsobees
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 01:12:58 AM »

More gov't, less freedom.
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 08:14:42 AM »

It looks like PA is hiring those inspectors for nothing. I bet most beeks won't even register their hives once they find out all the requirements! It will be like New York City, with beeks needing to hide their hives. Cry All the beekeeping associations should send petitions/letters to the governor in protest.
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melliphile
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 09:35:21 AM »

I don't register my hives and I could never meet all those requirments to sell honey. People come to me for honey because they like that I process without heat or high pressure filtration. They like that my I don't use chemicals of any kind. If the state says that I cannot sell honey, I would have to destroy most of what the bees produce. Maybe the state wouldn't mind if I gave it away, because I would do that before I would throw it away. Free for the taking and say that donations are appreciated?
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 11:37:43 AM »

Darn, more mandates  angry

And one Size fits All Mentality.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 11:56:20 AM »

we are from the government, and were here......?

i don't register anything that i can get away with not registering.  guns, hives.....
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harvey
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 11:57:35 AM »

give the honey away, but charge a non-refundable deposit fee for  the container!!!
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lenape13
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 12:59:12 PM »

As far as I am concerned, the people who dream up these unneeded laws can take a nice trip to a REALLY hot place, and have intimate, sexual contact with themselves while there!  I have no need for the government, national, state, or local, telling me what I can and cannot do on my own property!   angry
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Superdog
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 01:11:58 PM »

I've heard that in some states, you can use any commercial kitchen.  Many churches and schools have commercial kitchens, some rent them out by the day.  Something to look into.  Here in Wisconsin, as long as you sell it from your house, you are not subject to those restrictions.  When it comes to farmer markets, it gets a bit fuzzy.  I just plead ignorant. 
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melliphile
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 04:36:02 PM »

Grandpa Jim,
 Can you link to the handout, or post it somehow? I searched the Pa Dept. of Ag site, but didn't find the info you mentioned. was your speaker Dennis van Englesdorp?
 
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 08:08:12 PM »

Not sure if I am doing this right, but here is the document that was given out.  It is 'application for home food processing'
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/http%3B/10.41.0.36/AgWebsite/FormDetail.aspx?name=Home-Food-Processors-Application&navid=32&parentnavid=0&formid=302&

Here is the 'guidance and requirements for home food processors.
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/http%3B/10.41.0.36/AgWebsite/FormDetail.aspx?name=Home-Food-Processors-Guideline&navid=32&parentnavid=0&formid=301&

Our speaker was Karen Roccasecca, her responsibilities in the Dept of Ag. are, Apiary Registration Program, Apiary Inspections, Apiary Lab Diagnostics.  She was very good and I have no problem with the hive inspection program.  Just think they are trying to make an existing form, fit a new application, that being honey processing.
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/http%3B/10.41.0.36/AgWebsite/ProgramDetail.aspx?name=Apiary-Bee-Inspection&navid=12&parentnavid=0&palid=65&
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 08:26:25 PM by Grandpa Jim » Logged
buzzbee
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 08:44:12 PM »

PA has always had bee inspectors until it was curtailed last year due to state budget cuts. The honey processing requirements are not new either.
These inspectors are just being reinstated,although they may be new,as some of the old inspectors have decided not to work for the state again.
%1/2 inspectors huh? Who would be the 1/2 inspector,lol. 5 inspectors for the whole state equates to probably a non effective inspection program.
The state has had the apiary inspection program since the 1920s,revised in 1994.
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/http%3B/10.41.0.36/AgWebsite/ProgramDetail.aspx?name=Apiary-Bee-Inspection&navid=12&parentnavid=0&palid=65&
 
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 08:50:37 PM »

As far as I am concerned, the people who dream up these unneeded laws can take a nice trip to a REALLY hot place, and have intimate, sexual contact with themselves while there!  I have no need for the government, national, state, or local, telling me what I can and cannot do on my own property!   angry
The reason the original law was drafted was to stop the spread of foulbrood. The bees do leave your property.
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 09:04:39 PM »

I think I read the federal food processing license is easier and accepted. I don't think most inspectors make it all that difficult,they are just looking for a sanitary processing area.There are an awful lot of licemsed kitchens around for it to be too difficult to pass.
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2010, 09:27:46 PM »

See exception 2 on fees


http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/http%3B/10.41.0.36/AgWebsite/ProgramDetail.aspx?name=Wholesale---Processing-Manufacturing-and-Distribution&navid=12&parentnavid=0&palid=57&

Fees:  Those facilities registered with the Department will pay a $35 fee. There are some exceptions to the fee, however all food establishment must be inspected regardless of whether a fee is paid or not. Exemptions to the fee include:

(1) Vehicles used primarily for the transportation of any consumer commodity in bulk or quantity to manufacturers, packers, processors or wholesale or retail distributors.

(2) Any food establishment in which at least 50 percent of the commodities sold were produced on the farm on which the food establishment is located.

(3) Any food establishment in which food or beverages are sold only through a vending machine.

(4) Any food establishment in which only prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous food or beverages are sol

You also have the option of paying someone with a  certified honey house a small fee to extract and bottle for you.
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2010, 11:17:27 PM »

The 1/2 inspector was Karen.  She would spend 1/2 of her time inspecting and the other 1/2 on her other responsibilities.

I think the exempt fees in #2 would refer to the farmers market and not the beekeeper putting a few jars of his or her honey on their shelves.

I do think the state could offer classes to teach and promote sanitary practices.  Maybe even come up with a certification program......But I am not sure that they are any good at that either.   example....My wife, myself and 5 of my employees went through the Serve Safe Program that the State required and have to pay to renew every few years.  One certified person must be on premises when serving food.  Three, eight hour days each in class and the class fees cost me  hundreds of dollars.  In the end if you got 60% right on the test, you were certified (we all did much better than that),but when we ask what we got wrong, they could not tell us because "it would give away the answers to the test".  Excuse me, but knowing the right answers was the purpose of the course!  Now, the cook at your favorite eatery is certified to serve safe food when he may have gotten 40%  of the answers on his test wrong and was not told what it was that he did not understand.  So was the purpose to teach safe food handling or collect the fees???

When everyone is promoting eating local food, the state is looking at making it harder for the small local producer to market his product.  I know there ore options, paying a certified honey house or whatever.  Each option just sucks more money out of our pockets.
Jim
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lenape13
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2010, 11:53:22 PM »

As far as I am concerned, the people who dream up these unneeded laws can take a nice trip to a REALLY hot place, and have intimate, sexual contact with themselves while there!  I have no need for the government, national, state, or local, telling me what I can and cannot do on my own property!   angry
The reason the original law was drafted was to stop the spread of foulbrood. The bees do leave your property.

And in the event of foulbrood, I would be more than happy to destroy the infected hives.  I am an adult, and my parents taught me right and wrong.  I do NOT need "Big Brother" looking over my shoulder.
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2010, 12:28:54 AM »

The other thing I see as problem is going to your zoning officer and asking them to sign an 'OK' on a  paper titled "application for home food processing plan".  I can tell you, if I went in with that paper and used my home address, I would get an immediate  and firm NO WAY!!  I could, in very sanitary conditions, extract honey in my home(Oh what!! the goldfish will have to go...sorry Goldy Cry) one or two days out of the year, that is not a home business, but you will not get that zoning officer to sign off on that paper, as it is titled, without a zoning board hearing and that will cost you $$ and they still may say NO!  
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 12:54:21 PM by Grandpa Jim » Logged
zzen01
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2010, 11:30:20 AM »

After all it is not called the COMMONWEALTH of PA for nothing.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2010, 12:57:59 PM »

After all it is not called the COMMONWEALTH of PA for nothing.

I'm surprised that in this current economic stress they haven't named it the COMMON(lack of)WEALTH of PA!!
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Rick
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