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The European Union (EU) defines a number of specific common rules for honey supplementing the legislation applicable to foodstuffs. These rules concern the composition and definition of honey, sales names, labelling, presentation and information on origin.


Council Directive 2001/110/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to honey.


This Directive establishes common rules concerning the composition and definition of honey. Furthermore, it specifies the different types of products which can be placed on the market under appropriate names, as well as the rules concerning labelling, presentation and information on origin.


Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by Apis mellifera bees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store and leave in honeycombs to ripen and mature.

When placed on the market as honey or used in a product intended for human consumption, honey must meet the composition criteria set out in Annex II to this Directive.


This Directive supplements the general rules relating to the labelling of foodstuffs as provided for in Directive 2000/13/EC by requiring that essential consumer information is included on the labelling. In particular, the labelling must include the country of origin of the honey (with a degree of flexibility for a blend of honeys from different origins), and the product names as set out in Annex I. However, these names may be replaced in certain cases by the simple product name ‘honey’ (except in the case of ‘filtered honey’, ‘comb honey’, ‘chunk honey or cut comb in honey’ or ‘baker’s honey’).

Information on regional, territorial or topographical origin, or on floral or vegetable origin, or on specific quality criteria may supplement this labelling (except for ‘filtered honey’ and ‘baker’s honey’).


Directive 2001/110/EC is the last in a series of five vertical directives in the field of foodstuffs submitted by the Commission in June 1996 as part of a simplification exercise. The other Directives concern preserved milk, certain sugars, fruit juices and jams.

Directive 2001/110/EC repeals Directive 74/409/EEC from 1 August 2003.


ActDate ofhentry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2001/110/EC



OJ L 10 of 12.1.2002

Last updated: 29.12.2010
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