Honey Production and Sales

Registering for your Food business

The Food Act 1984 (the Food Act) requires the registration of beekeeping for the intention of honey production and sale.

If you’re interested in keeping bees and/or producing honey for sale, you must comply with the following requirements before starting business:

Become registered under the Food Act

  • Have an Environmental Health Officer inspect your premises.
  • Register as a beekeeper with Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) if keeping one or more hives as required by the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.
  • Obtain a Town Planning Approval for Keeping of Bees (‘As of right use’ for rural zoning).
  • Meet the requirements of the Apiary Code of Practice May 2011, which sets out the requirements for use of land for apiaries and provides a minimum standard for best practice management of hives.

Structural Requirements

In general, the building used for your business should comply with the following design:

The building used for honey production should be of solid construction and kept in good condition.

All surfaces, fixtures and fittings should be made of a smooth and impervious (waterproof) material that can be easily cleaned.

The building should be secure and prevent the entry and housing of animals, pests, vermin and birds.

Living areas, toilets and areas where animals reside should be kept separate and not open directly to the honey handling area.

A pest control program must be maintained on the premises.

Adequate lighting should be provided.

A potable (drinkable) water supply should be available.

Hand washing facilities must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water through a single outlet and equipped with liquid soap and paper towel.

The hand wash basin must be separate from cleaning sinks in large scale production businesses.

Requirements for Small and Large Scale Productions

Regardless of the scale of your production, your facilities must meet certain standards.

Food safety laws affect every Victorian’s health and safety. In Victoria, all food businesses must comply with the Food Act 1984, which oversees food safety. The Act also requires food premises to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

For more information, visit Health.Vic's Food Safety information page for Businesses.   

Honey Contamination

Contamination of honey can occur from two sources; chemical and biological hazards.

Chemical contamination of honey can be caused from poorly used pest control chemicals, poorly applied chemical bee repellents and storage of honey in unclean or unsuitable containers.

Biological or bacterial contamination can occur due to poor personal hygiene and sanitation procedures during handling and processing.

To prevent general contamination occurring during honey production, follow these procedures for extraction, filtration/settling and storage of honey:

  • Extraction: The equipment and containers must be clean and dry prior to use.
  • Filtration/Settling: Fine mesh strainers should be used when filtering the honey.
  • Storage: Only use food grade containers, equipment and utensils that are non-toxic and capable of being cleaned. Containers should be stored in a clean area below 45° degrees Celsius.

For more information about preventing contamination, go to Cleanliness and Food Hygiene.