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Guide to selling honey safely on Trade Me

Honey must comply with food safety standards and labelling and tutin compliance under the Food Act

10 February 2021

NOTE: This article may be dated. More detail can be found here: 

Domestic sale



Selling honey on Trade Me can be a sweet operation, but it’s not without risk.

Whether you are a hobbyist beekeeper or are producing pot loads for sale, there are some rules that need to be met to ensure the honey is safe for public consumption.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has very kindly put together some advice for honey sellers who use Trade Me to sell their wares.

Trade Me expects all persons listing honey for sale to comply with the requirements of this regulatory framework.

Honey and other bee products that are produced for sale in NZ only, must be produced under the requirements of the Food Act 1981.

The Food Act requires that you must either:

  • Be registered by your local Council under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 or
  • Be registered for a Food Safety Programme with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), which will then be audited by an MPI approved auditor

You must also meet the requirements of the following:

  • The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code which covers labelling of food sold in New Zealand
  • The Food (Tutin in Honey) Standard 2016.

Labelling of honey is really important

If you process or package honey for sale you need to comply with the labelling requirements laid out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

This pamphlet has some guidance on the requirements: A guide to New Zealand Honey Labelling.

The Food (Tutin in Honey) Standard 2016 must be met

All honey for sale or export for human consumption has to comply with the Food (Tutin in Honey) Standard 2016.

This to protect against Tutin contamination, which causes toxicity in honey and can make people very ill, even if a small amount is eaten.

It is often found in honey harvested after the end of December.

It occurs when bees collect honeydew from passion-vine hoppers that have been feeding on tutu (Coriaria arborea), a poisonous New Zealand shrub.

This MPI guide to compliance on the Tutin standard explains what you must do and includes information on how testing for tutin in honey is done.

A point of note is that honey harvested in the North Island and above 42 degrees south in the South Island (Just south of Westport) needs to have specific measures taken to ensure it is safe, particularly if the honey has not been collected by bees between July and December of the same year.

If you donate or barter your honey, then that is a form of trade, and you must comply with the Food Standard 2010 for tutin in honey.

Beekeepers and packers of honey for sale must comply with this standard under the Food Act to show that their honey does not contain toxic (poisonous) levels of tutin.

If you are a hobbyist beekeeper who only produces honey for your own use, MPI recommends that you also follow the standard to ensure your honey is safe to eat.


Trade Me wants everyone to enjoy their honey on toast and not get sick from it. So on occasion we may ask members to demonstrate compliance with the rules and regulations.

We’ll also continue to work with MPI as required regarding food safety.

A big thank to MPI for putting this post together!

Creative Commons image used courtesy Cordelia on Flickr.