What are the goals of the True Source Certified® program?

The True Source Certified® program was launched in 2010 to help prevent illegal trade in honey that circumvents United States law and potentially harms the reputation of all honey sold in North America. The program is committed to ensuring that honey is sourced in a transparent and traceable manner and is authentic.

What is required for a honey to be True Source Certified?

The True Source Certified seal requires honey to be fully traceable, from hive to table, tested to confirm authenticity and audited by a third party. True Source Certified is a voluntary system for participants in an international supply chain who wish to demonstrate through an independent third-party audit that their sourcing practices for honey are in full compliance with U.S. and international trade laws and meet the requirements of the True Source Certified standards.

There are two critical areas of focus in the supply chain, the exporter and the packer. To provide traceability, participants must adhere to all of the elements of the standards. These include proper documentation, use of the True Source Certified system of identification, and in some countries, the use of third-party auditors to sample and seal loads in the country of origin prior to shipment.

The authenticity testing program must be administrated by the North American packer upon receipt of the honey, with all testing completed by an accredited laboratory. The results must be available to a third-party auditor for each True Source Certified load in a North America packer audit. In addition, these same tests will be conducted on random samples collected during a packer audit.


Which companies are involved with the True Source Honey program?

The True Source Certified Program has more than 650 members around the world. An estimated 40% of honey sold in the United States and Canada is True Source Certified. Many honey brands and retailers have added the True Source Certified seal to their packaging to assure customers that their honey is authentic. In recent years, several manufacturers have also added the Made with True Source Honey logo to their packaging when True Source Honey is used as an ingredient.


Is True Source Certified honey better than other honey?

Most honey comes from high-quality sources; however adulterated and illegally sourced honey has been a global issue. Historically, imported honey originating from China has been transshipped through other countries to circumvent the U.S. duty on Chinese origin honey. The True Source Certified seal requires honey to be fully traceable, from hive to table, tested to confirm authenticity and audited by a third party.

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.


What about honey in cereal, 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. Products made using True Source Certified Honey may apply to use the Made with True Source Honey logo on their packaging.


How does purchasing True Source Certified honey help bees?

True Source Certified honey is real honey made by honeybees and sourced from beekeepers. Buying it supports the efforts of hard-working beekeepers around the world who strive to produce delicious honey.

True Source Honey members actively support U.S. beekeepers, including supporting research to help beekeepers maintain the health and high quality of U.S. honey production and to fight colony collapse disorder. True Source Honey member companies are supporters of a strong and healthy U.S. beekeeping industry and are members of the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers Association.


Where can I find out more information on the health benefits of honey, bees and beekeeping, or grab delicious honey recipes?

We encourage you to visit the National Honey Board for more information.


Why did True Source Honey update its standards in 2023?

True Source Honey has focused on honesty and transparency in honey sourcing. It has updated its standards to better address industry needs regarding honey authenticity.

True Source Honey had required its packers to maintain a system to analyze honey authenticity but had not specified exact testing methodologies. The new standards are exact, requiring specific testing that combines longstanding approved methods with new cutting-edge technologies to identify possible economic adulterants in honey.


Who conducts the audits?

NSF International, a global public health and safety organization and independent certification body for the food industry, conducts audits and certifications for the True Source Honey program worldwide.


What is EA/LC-IRMS Testing?

This testing detects the presence of added sugars from C3 plants (rice, wheat or beet syrup) and C4 plants (cane or corn syrups). This method, which is the analysis of stable carbon ratios by the conventional Elemental Analyzer (EA) or high-performance Liquid Chromatography (LC) combined with Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS), was ISO validated in 2008.


What is NMR or HRMS testing?

Introduced in 2013, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) profiling is a rapid screening technique that compares a honey sample to a reference database to identify possible adulterants as well as to detect prohibited honey processing methods and other potential manipulations of honey. Introduced in 2015, High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) is a highly sensitive screening tool used to identify specific markers typical of sugar syrups.

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