Mid Ohio Valley Beekeepers' Association

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updated  4/11/15

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Ohio Label Law





New Label Laws for Ohio

The Ohio Legislation has passed new regulations relative to label laws for honey. Most of us wont be affected because our operations and the amount of honey we sell are small. However, larger operations may be affected, and honey house inspections by ODA may be in order.
 In any event, all of us will benefit by reviewing the basics of what needs to be on a label, and how to put it there. Keep these basics in mind
 Use clean containers. Fill them with pure, uncontaminated honey. Use a legal label contents - honey, producer - name and address, weight - lbs. ounces, and grams.
 If you have further questions The ODA contact is listed. Contact them directly for additional information, or to clarify confusing issues.

  Ohio Food Safety Regulations and Labeling Requirements

In 1999, the Ohio General Assembly passed, and Governor Taft signed, Sub. H.B. 223. which created Chapter 3717 of the Ohio Revised code. Chapter 3717 is known as the Retail Food Establishment and Food Service Operation law. This law created the Retail Food Safety Advisory Council. One of the key duties of this council was to make recommendations for the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. Through the recommendations of this council and other public input. Chapter 3717 of the Ohio Administrative Code (actual regulations known as the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code) became effective March 1 2001.
  This law and resulting regulations created a sweeping change in the approach to regulating retail food establishments and food service opera­tions in Ohio. It was intended to streamline the licensing and inspection process and create one licensor and inspector (local health department) regulations were created  with good intents, there have been some unantici­pated negative impacts.
  Sub. S.B. 136 was passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor Taft in November 2001. This law will fix numerous negative impacts (or farmers. beekeepers. maple syrup and sorghum processors. direct agricultural marketers and those involved in cottage food production. As of this date, we are working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to develop rules that will become part of the Ohio Administrative Code and provide further detail on how to carry out the new laws approved in Sub. S.B. 136.

  Maple Syrup and Sorghum processors and Beekeepers (honey)
Section 3715.021

“Food processing establishment” does not include a processor of maple syrup who boils sap when a minimum of 75 percent of the sap used to produce the syrup is collected directly from trees by that processor: a processor of sorghum who processes sorghum juice when a minimum of 75 percent of the sorghum juice used to produce the sorghum is extracted directly from sorghum plants by that processor: or a beekeeper who jars honey when a minimum of 75 percent of the honey is from that beekeeper’s own hives.
This would exempt maple syrup and sorghum processors and beekeepers, as defined, from more stringent “Good Manufacturing Practices.”

  Section 3715.022

All packaged maple syrup, sorghum, and honey are subject to food sampling conducted by the director of agriculture or a representative the director authorizes to determine if a food product is misbranded or adulterated. A component of the food sampling conducted under this section may  include the performance of sample analysis in accordance with section 3715.02 of the revised code.

Section 3715.023

(A) Except as provided in division (A) of this section a maple syrup or sorghum processor and beekeeper described in division (B) section 3715.02 1 of the Revised Code shall label each of their food products and include the following information on the label of each of their food products:

(1) The name and address of the business of the processor beekeeper:

(2) The name of the food product:

(3) The ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight:

(4) The net weight or net volume of the food product.

  (B) The requirements of division (A) of this section do not apply to fruit butter that is produced at a festival or celebration, if the festival or celebration is organized by a political subdivision of this state and the fruit butter is sold during the festival or celebration from the production site.
(C) Food products identified and labeled in accordance with division (A) of this section are acceptable food products that a retail food establish­ment or food service operation licensed under Chapter 3717 of the Revised Code may offer for sale or use in preparing and serving food. (This will make these food items considered an approved source.)

  Section 3715.024

(A) A maple syrup or sorghum processor and beekeeper described in division (A) of section 3715.021 of the Revised Code may request that the director conduct a voluntary inspection of the processor’s or beekeeper’s facilities. After the inspection is completed. if the inspector determines that the facilities comply with the rules adopted by the director pursuant to division (13) of this section, the processor or beekeeper may place upon the label required under section 3715.023 of the Revised Code a seal of conformity and inspection of the department of agriculture.

  Section 3717.22

A maple syrup and sorghum processor and beekeeper described in division (A) of section 3715.021 of the Revised Code is exempt from the requirement to be licensed as a retail food establishment, on the condition that the processor or beekeeper offers only maple syrup, sorghum, or honey directly to the consumer from the site where those products are processed.

  Additional Miscellaneous Exemptions from the Requirement to be Licensed as a Retail Food Establishment
Section 3717.22

An establishment with commercially prepackaged foods that are not potentially hazardous and contained in displays, the total space of which equals less than 200 cubic feet.

A person who offers for sale only the following foods at a festival or celebration, on the condition that the festival or celebration is organized by a political subdivision of the state and lasts for a period not longer than seven consecutive days.

(a) Fresh unprocessed fruits or  vegetables:

(b)    Products of a cottage food production operation:

(c)    Maple syrup, sorghum, or honey if produced by a maple syrup or sorghum processor or beekeeper as described in division (A) of sec­tion 3715.021 of the Revised Code.

(d)    Commercially prepackaged food that is not potentially hazardous food, on the condition that the commercially prepackaged nonpotentially hazardous food is contained in displays, the total space of which equals less than one hundred cubic feet.

(e )   Fruit butter produced at the festival or celebration and sold from the production site.


Food Labeling Requirements
Product of Identity — Reference: CFR 21. Part 101.3: Name of product that provides proper description
Statement of Ingredients — Reference: CFR 21, part 101.4

(A)   Complete breakdown of the ingredients (with sub-ingredients) listed by common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight.

(B)     An ingredient which itself contains two or more ingredients shall be designated in the statement of ingredients on the label of such food.

By declaring the established common or usual name of the ingredient followed by a parenthetical listing of all ingredients contained therein in descending order of predominance.

    (C )  When listing vegetable shortening or oil, the type shall also be listed. eg.. soybean, cottonseed, and/or Canola Oil. If hydrogenated, this must he specified.

  Statement of Responsibility — Reference: CFR 21, part 101. 5

The label of a food in packaged form shall specify conspicuously the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.

Where the food is not manufactured by the person whose name appears on the label, the name shall be qualified by a phrase that reveals the connection such person has with such food: e.g.. Amanufacturedfor@ADistributedby@ or any other wording that ex­presses the facts. The statement of the place of business shall include the street address, city, state and zip code: however. the street address may be omitted if it is shown in a current telephone directory. A Telephone Number is not required. It is their perrogative if they wish to display a telephone number. Note: A telephone no., Email address, or web site cannot he used in lieu of the statement of responsibility requirement.


Declaration of net quantity of contents — Reference: CFR 21, Part 101. 105

Dual declaration — Reference: Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. Title 15   Chapter 39, ~ 1453( a) (2)

     Net quantity of contents shall he separately and accurately stated in a uniform location upon the principal display panel of the label, using the most appropriate units in both the customary inch/pound system of measure and the SI metric system. Either one may follow the other parenthetically. SI means — International System of Unite.
  The term Net Wt. Is used to represent solid/mass type products. Use of the terms ‘Net” or “Net Contents” in terms of fluid measure or numerical count is optional. It is sufficient to distinguish avoirdupois ounce (system of weights and measure that is based on a pound containing 16 ounces or 7.00() grains and equal to 453.59 grams) from fluid ounce through association of terms: for example. ‘Net wt. 6 oz” or “6 oz Net wt.” And “6 f1 oz” or “Net contents 6 fl oz.”

The quantity of contents shall be placed on the principal display panel. It shall be within the bottom 30 percent of the area of the label panel in lines that are generally parallel to the bottom of the package as it is designed to he displayed.

A declaration of net quantity of contents is permitted to be blown, molded or embossed on a glass or plastic surface of the container as long as all other required labeling information is available on the principal display panel.


Nutritional Labeling — Exemptions — Reference: CFR 21, Part

101. 9 (j)

A.    Retail exemption:

Food offered for sale by a retailer who has annual gross sales of food to consumers of not more than $50,000: or has total annual gross sales of food/non-food items to consumers of not more than $500,000 is exempt from nutritional labeling provided no nutritional claims are made.

SALES IN FOOD        TOTAL SALES FOOD AND NON FOOD)                      STATUS                                                               

$50,000 or less                                       $500,000 or less                                                                    Exempt

$50,001 or more                                     $500,000 or less                                                                   Exempt

$50,000 or less                                      $500,001or more                                                                   Exempt

$50,001 or more                                     $500,001 or more`                                                                Not Exempt


Ready—to—eat food products that are manufactured on site by the retailer and not sold outside of that retail firm is exempt provided no nutri­tional claims are made.


B.    Manufacturer/Wholesaler exemption:

A firm with fewer than 100 full time employees (FTE’s)and  less than 100,000 units sold in the previous year is exempt from nutritional labeling  provided no nutritional claims are made. An establishment that wholesales product must submit annual notification to FDA to maintain existing exemption.

NOTE: a firm with less than 10 employees and less than 10,000 units sold does not have to apply to FDA for an exemption.


UPC Code: ODA does not regulate the UPC code. The following address and number is provided if you with further information:

Uniform Code Council    7051 Corporate Way     Dayton, Ohio 44459     937.435.3870 or 800.543.8137


The ODA Division of Food Safety should be notified when labeling violations arc identified on food products that were not packaged at the retail level: and food products packaged at retail for distribution.

Labels may he submitted to the Ohio Department of Agriculture for review and approval to the: Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Food Safety  8995 E. Main Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068:

Email: foodsafety @odant.agni.state.oh.us


Where to get information about the current Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code and other Ohio Food Safety Regulations

Direct agricultural marketers and farmers who are licensable through the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code will need to work with local health department officials. Initial communication should always be directed to the local health department. As with any new program there will be problems that arise and need to be resolved. Consumers, academia, indus­try, local health department personnel, etc. are encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Division of Food Safety with questions related to this new program that are not resolved locally. Anyone exempt from provisions of. or not covered by the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code should contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture directly for assistance with food safety regulations. The following communication vehicles are available. Email: foodsafety@odant.agri.state.oh.us; 614.128.6250:

800.282.1955  and ask receptionist or follow instructions to connect to Food Safety; FAX 614.644.0720; Current laws and Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code


Keeping Perspective...

It is important to remember that a number of problems being experienced are due to improper application of the existing Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. Local health departments are still learning about the program and about the nature of the food industry that has not been regulated through local health departments in the past. Ask the Ohio Department of Agriculture (see above) for help in situations that cannot be resolved locally.

Approximately one-half of local health districts had local food es­tablishment programs prior to the new Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. The fees were generally less and inspection requirements may have been less stringent.

Exempting entities from the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code does open the door for local health districts to establish local ordinances that could regulate where the state code does not.


Compiled by John Wargowsky, Director of Labor Services Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, P.O. Box 479, Columbus, OH 43216, 614.677.4530, FAX 614.249.2200, jwargows@otbf.org and reviewed by the Ohio De­partment of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety.