The designation and composition of honey is strictly regulated in the EU. Council Directive 2001/110/EC relating to honey (as amended by Directive (EU) 2014/63 of the European Parliament and of the Council) has been implemented in Finland by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree on honey 392/2015 (hereinafter the Honey Decree)(in Finnish).
The Honey Decree sets out the requirements for the composition of honey, the requirements for the name of the products and the requirements for the indication of origin and the warning that honey may not be given to children under 1 year of age.
The following products may be marketed under the name “honey” or with a more specific name
Main types of honey according to origin
- blossom honey
- honeydew honey
Main types of honey according to production method and / or mode of presentation
- drained honey
- extracted honey
- pressed honey
Filtered honey, comb honey, chunk honey and baker's honey must be sold under these names.
Except in the case of filtered honey and baker's honey, the name of the product may be supplemented only by the information referring to
- the floral or vegetable origin
- regional, territorial or topographical origin
- specific quality criteria
Designation of the product where other ingredients have been added to the honey
The name 'honey' may not be used if the product has been manufactured using ingredients other than honey, such as flavouring or fibre. The Finnish Food Authority has generally provided guidance on the naming of such products in the Food Information Guide for Food Supervisors and Food Business Operators (Finnish Food Authority Guide 17068/2).
Use of the designation raw honey
The term “raw honey” must not be used to designate and market honey. The grounds for this is that the Honey Decree does not recognise the term “raw honey”. This term is not commonly defined in the EU. Annex I to the Honey Decree defines the various commercial names and product descriptions of honey. Annex II to the Honey Decree describes the compositional requirements for honey. The EU has identified the need to legislate on the definition of honey, the different commercial names of honey placed on the market and the common rules on the composition of honey. The legislation aims to ensure the quality and free movement of honey in the EU, to prevent fraud and misleading of the consumer.
Exports of food from the EU to third countries are regulated at a general level, including in Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Where the legislation of the country of destination allows the use of the designation raw honey for honey and the honey meets the requirements of the country of destination for the use of the designation for raw honey, then there should be no obstacle to the use of the designation raw honey for the export.
NOTE: Honey is a food of animal origin, the exporter of which must be on the Finnish Food Authority's register of exporters. More on this subject on the Food Authority's export website. More information on exports also at https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/en/companies/import-and-export/export/Product-specific-information/food-exports/