Raw, unprocessed honey now exempt from NJ’s cottage food law

Kimberly Redmond//December 5, 2022//

Raw, unprocessed honey now exempt from NJ’s cottage food law

Kimberly Redmond//December 5, 2022//

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Senate President Nicholas Scutari, D-22nd District
Senate President Nicholas Scutari, D-22nd District – NJ SENATE DEMOCRATS

Acting Gov. Nicholas Scutari signed into law a bipartisan measure that exempts raw, unprocessed honey from the New Jersey Department of Health’s cottage food regulations.

Under the legislation enacted Dec. 1, honey is now removed from the list of foods covered by the state’s new regulations governing the sale of home-baked goods and other foods prepared by individuals to individuals.

Up until October 2021, it was illegal to sell home-baked goods unless they were prepared in a commercial kitchen, but New Jersey has joined a growing number of states allowing cottage food operations.

However, since honey was included, that meant a permit was required to extract it, bottle it and sell it — which changed where and how beekeepers can sell their extra honey.

In May, legislation to exempt honey from the list of cottage food products was introduced into the state Senate by Sens. Andrew Zwicker, D-16th District, and Steven Oroho, R-24th District, while a companion bill was sponsored by Assemblymembers Joe Danielson, D-17th District; Roy Freiman, D-16th District; and William Spearman, D-5th District.

In a Dec. 2 statement, Oroho said he was pleased that Scutari, who was serving as acting governor while Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver attended out-of-state events, took action on the bill.

“For far too long, beekeepers have been subject to unnecessary government red tape that prevents them from easily distributing fresh, unprocessed honey,” said Oroho. “This legislation will exempt raw honey from these needless Department of Health regulations so that beekeepers and farmers can get their product to the public in an efficient manner.”

A bill that would have amended the regulation to exclude honey was passed by the state Assembly and state Senate last year but pocket vetoed by Murphy in the final days of the 2020-21 legislative session.