OK, Illinois Beekeepers, it is time to step up and make a difference. The ISBA proposed legislation has been introduced in the state senate. Contacting your state senator and asking his or her support is extremely important.
Three years ago the Department of Public Health redefined the bottling of honey as "processing" of food and therefore subject to strict regulation that eliminated most small-scale honey producer's bottling facilities. They were expected to meet the same standards as Sara Lee and McDonalds. For an operation that produced a few hundred pounds of honey a year (and that is the majority of ISBA members) the cost was prohibitive.
The new legislation would define honey in the comb or extracted from the comb as a raw agricultural commodity (such as tomatoes and corn sold at farmers' markets). Under the proposed legislation the small-scale producer would be exempt from the oppressive IDPA requirements.
Beekeepers and their honey have a track record that earns them this consideration. The desirability and need for local produce demands this legislation.
The bill itself is posted on at ISBA.US. The ISBA resolution leading to this legislation and suggested "talking points for supporters" are in the most recent issue of the Bulletin and posted at ISBA.US.
Illinois beekeepers need your action. Contact your Illinois State Senator and Representatives.
P. S. Find your Senator's contact information at http://www.ilga.gov/senate/. Find your Representive's contact information at http://www.ilga.gov/house/.
Here is the ISBA press release. Please distribute it to other beekeepers and to the press. Address questions to Mike.
For Immediate Release
ISBA Applauds Senator Luechtefeld's Introduction of SB 2959
Contact: Mike Sabo (618) 458-7745
February 4, 2010, Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Beekeepers Association (ISBA) today announced its support for Senator Dave Luechtefeld's (R-Okawville) introduction of SB 2959 to recognize raw, unadulterated honey as an agricultural commodity. Further, SB 2959 will amend the Sanitary Food Preparation Act to ease regulation on hobby beekeepers who wish to sell their honey direct to consumers.
Last Fall, the Illinois State Beekeepers Association adopted a resolution calling upon the State of Illinois to acknowledge the unique properties of honey and to assist in eliminating burdensome regulations upon Illinois beekeepers. Honey, in its pure and unadulterated form, is a healthy farm product possessing documented anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Hobbyist beekeepers in Illinois stand as a backstop in the fight against Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other maladies that endanger honeybee populations. Illinois beekeepers are stewards of nature and, as honey purveyors, SB2959 will enable hobbyist beekeepers to continue practicing their craft, thus assuring those who perform the culinary arts access to a wholesome, fresh local product. SB 2959 will encourage Illinois economic networking between beekeepers and consumers at the local level. The bill will assure beekeepers the ability to maintain their bee colonies that serve an important role as pollinators to Illinois crops.
The Illinois State Beekeepers Association is very grateful to Senator Luechtefeld for championing this cause. Likewise, members of the Association express their gratitude to Steve Chard, Illinois Chief Apiary Inspector, for his support of the ISBA resolution.
The Illinois State Beekeepers Association requests the support of the citizens of Illinois and asks them to call upon their respective State Senators to support SB 2959.