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Texas House Bill could sting beekeepers

State lawmakers are moving forward with HB 590, which could land Texas honey producers in jail for mislabeling their products.

TEXAS, USA — Michael Nickell is Sibley Nature Center’s beekeeper, something he’s been doing as a hobby like many other beekeepers in our community. 

“The ones that I know are mostly hobbyists, they don’t have the big interest in producing honey on a commercial scale or at least the ones that I know,” said Nickell.

However, for beekeepers who are producing, mislabeling Texas honey in the state could be impacted by House Bill 590 which states, “a person may not label, sell, a product identified on its label as ‘Texas Honey’ unless the product consists ‘exclusively’ of honey produced from apiaries in Texas.” 

Someone found mislabeling this honey would face class B misdemeanor charges.

However, due to factors like weather, it’s harder to produce honey sometimes for beekeepers in Texas, which results in some creating blends from other states. 

“Whenever a person is doing it for livelihood there’s a lot of things they have to take into consideration and a lot of worries that I don’t have to deal with and they’ve got such a small margin of error. Something can wipe out their bee colony just in next to no time,” said Nickell.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a honey report of March 2020 showed 157,000 honey producing colonies in Texas with $8.9 million pounds of Texas Honey contributing to the $17 million of the U.S. 

The bill was proposed by State Representative Ernest Bailes, who represents House District 18

If passed by lawmakers, the bill would go into effect on Sept. 1, 2023.

Source: News West9