True Source Certified Gathers Industry Leaders
Discussions Focus on Certifying Country of Origin for Honey
True Source Certified is a non-profit organization formed by several packers to create a certification process for honey that will give participating entities a tool to fight back against transshipped honey. On February 16, 2011, there was an informational and organizational meeting for True Source in Chicago, which was attended by about 50 packers, importers and beekeeping organizations. The ABF was represented by George Hansen, ABF vice president. The program is ready to get off the ground in its first phase - certifying country of origin.
The program is based on third-party independent audits of exporters and packers, as well as registration of importers and a voluntary registration by U.S. and Canadian beekeepers. The auditing company will be Intertek, which conducts audits for similar food programs worldwide. The cost of the certification will be covered by fees and registrations from participants.
Exporting companies wanting their products to be certified from the source identified in the paperwork will register and be audited for authenticity or the origins of the honey. These audits will be carried out in the country of origin. Each barrel will be given a unique ID. Importers will register and pay a fee. They will agree to maintain the integrity of the certification, but will not be audited. Packers receiving this honey will pay fees to participate, and will be audited by Intertek to certify the products sold by the packer. Beekeepers can voluntarily register, but will only be subject to an audit as a part of the packer's audit to establish country of origin. Honey sold as True Source Certified will have an audited paper trail verifying the authenticity of the all the product's sources, including domestic. All phases of this program conform completely with the stipulations in the new U.S. Food Safety Law.
Discussions during the Chicago meeting centered around expanding the program to include quality. Currently, quality issues would be handled by the packer's own testing after receiving the product. An advisory board is being formed to develop the next steps. More information and the registration schedules can be found on the True Source Certified Web site at www.truesourcehoney.com.
posted February 2011