Maryland law sets standards for honey labeling

Several new laws went into effect in Maryland Oct. 1, and one of them 'stings' honey operations if they mislabel their products.

Loyd Luna's backyard is buzzing with activity; his closest neighbors are thousands of bees. For 40 years, the hobby beekeeper has enjoyed fresh, pure honey straight from the source.

"That's better than Campbell's soup!," Luna exclaimed.

Monday, he had something else to smile about.

Luna testified earlier this year in favor of the bill that sets standards on honey labeling. Maryland is now one of several states that will make sure you're getting what's advertised on the bottle.

"If I find out that someone else is selling adulterated honey, and I can make a complaint to the state authorities, and that person can be prosecuted," Luna explained.

Jerry Fischer, who works with the Department of Agriculture, says in some cases, products on store shelves can be misleading. Instead of pure honey, consumers might be buying fillers.

"Several countries are allowed to adulterate honey in some ways. They can add percentages of high fructose corn syrup or something to it," Fischer added.

Luna said you can tell the difference between the real deal and the fake one by the taste.

"If you could smell the black locust when it's in bloom, that's exactly what this smells like--fresh locusts blooms," Luna continued.

Luna is one of more than 1,700 registered beekeepers in Maryland. However, there are no large honey producers in the state.

"Some of our backyard beekeepers have enough to sell to local stores and farmers' markets only," Fischer said.

Luna added buying locally is usually a safe bet for consumers.{ }

"The only way you're going to know that you're getting 100 percent pure honey is to buy locally from a beekeeper who uses no chemicals."