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Beekeeping and Honey - an Overview

The beekeeping sector is regulated by EU and national legislation. Under this legislation, bees are subject to veterinary inspection for certain notifiable diseases. Currently these diseases are Foul Brood Disease (American and European), Small Hive Beetle and the Tropilaelaps mite. Beekeepers must notify this Department of all suspected outbreaks of any of these diseases in their bee-hives or colonies. Imports and exports of bees are subject to health certification at their place of origin in the exporting country and to checks at their place of destination in the importing country.

Grant aid towards specialist beekeeping facilities and equipment is available under the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector.

Honey offered for sale to the consumer must comply with the European Communities (Marketing of Honey) Regulations 2003 (SI No. 367 of 2003). These regulations aim to ensure the honey is of acceptable quality and accurately labelled, especially in terms of origin. This Department carries out inspections to ensure compliance with these regulations and penalties are applied for infringements.

Beekeepers are encouraged to register with this Department for food hygiene purposes and are issued with a unique beekeeper registration number.

Teagasc provides an advisory and disease diagnostic service for beekeepers. Information is available from the Teagasc local offices network.

Further information can be obtained from Crop Policy, Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Tel: 01 5058804