Frequently Asked Questions


How can I tell if the honey I buy is True Source Certified?

Look for the True Source Certified logo on the package. If you don’t see the True Source Certified logo, check the True Source Honey website (www.TrueSourceHoney.com) to see if the company making the honey participates in the True Source Certified program. If not, contact the honey company or the retailer to tell them you’re concerned, and to ask them to certify their honey. (Go to the "Take Action" page for a helpful template you can use for that letter.)

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What are the goals of the True Source Honey initiative?

We created True Source Honey Certification to help prevent illegal trade in honey that circumvents U.S. law, and which also potentially harms the reputation of all honey sold in the United States. True Source Certification helps protect customers who use honey in their food and beverage products, as well as consumers who buy table honey or other products that contain honey. As True Source Honey suppliers, we pledge to protect the reputation of honey by ensuring to our utmost ability that honey is ethically and legally sourced in a transparent and traceable manner, as well as the other steps included in certification and in our True Source pledge.

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Who are the companies involved in the True Source Honey initiative?

We started in 2008 as a voluntary coalition of just five companies seeking to help solve the difficult problem of illegally sourced honey. Today more companies continue to join, representing about 25% of the honey sold in the United States. In addition, many beekeepers have joined the initiative – and the major U.S. beekeeping organizations have voiced their support for the effort, in addition to support from major retailers such as Costco and Walmart that now sell True Source Certified store brand honey.

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What about honey in cereal and granola bars, and other foods?

Honey is an ingredient in many of the foods you buy at the grocery store including cereals, breads, cookies, crackers, breakfast bars, meats, salad dressings, barbeque sauces, mustards, beverages, ice creams, yogurts and candies. We invite you to send a message to the companies that make your favorite foods that contain honey, to ask if they are aware of the True Source Certification program, how important it is for U.S. beekeepers and honey packers, and to ask if the honey they’re using is True Source Certified.

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Is True Source Certified honey better or safer than other honey?

Unfortunately today, some honey is imported into this country in circumvention of trade laws, and – by extension – sometimes quality and safety assurances. Specifically, imported honey originating from China is being transshipped through other countries to circumvent the U.S. duty. When you don't know the origin of the honey, it's difficult to be assured of its quality. For example, an antibiotic that has been banned in the United States has sometimes been found in imported honey originating from China. Other honey is found to contain added syrups or sweetener extenders that are not made by bees in the hive. If the origin of “honey” is misrepresented as it enters this country, the necessary quality and purity tests may not be conducted. As with any food, when you’re not sure of the origin, you can’t be sure of the quality.

True Source Certification ensures that honey is truthfully labeled as to its origin, that there is a transparent record of the honey's sources, back to the hive. Honey has earned a special place in people's hearts and minds as a wholesome, natural food. We want to protect that reputation and quality.

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Why should I care about companies that don't abide by U.S. trade laws?

True Source Honey, LLC estimates that the U.S. loses about $100 million a year in uncollected duties because of illegal honey imports. Furthermore, as honey companies are undercut by these illegal imports, ethical U.S. companies and beekeepers find it harder to compete. Quality U.S. honey operations are essential not just to produce high-quality honey supplies, but also for the honeybees needed to pollinate fruit, vegetable and seed crops across the United States. And when questionable product enters the U.S. supply, consumers and food manufacturers that count on honey are not always getting the quality product they deserve.

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What can I do to help U.S. beekeepers and honey companies?

We're asking people who buy and love honey to demand True Source Certified honey. That helps U.S. beekeepers and honey companies by preventing illegally sourced honey, which undercuts ethical U.S. companies and beekeepers, and potentially damages honey’s golden reputation. Some honey imported into the U.S. comes from illegal sources, is mislabeled and is of inferior quality. The sources for your honey should be known, trusted and transparent. We ask you to write letters to companies asking them to become True Source Certified or to buy honey supplies from certified companies. Food companies and retailers can ask their suppliers to become True Source Certified, and share the information with consumers that they support True Source Certification.

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How much honey does the U.S. import, and from whom?

In 2012, the U.S. produced only about 145 million pounds of the more than 400 million pounds of honey consumed. To make up the difference between U.S. honey production and consumption, we rely on honey from Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, among other countries.

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What is honey?

Honey is the natural, sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants. Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains other sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. The color of honey varies from nearly colorless to dark brown. The consistency can be fluid, viscous, or partly to entirely crystallized. The flavor and aroma vary, but are derived from the plant origin. For more information about honey, visit the National Honey Board's Web site at www.honey.com.

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