Procedures for Exporting Honey from Kenya - Part 1
The development of modern beekeeping in Kenya has progressively become a very important component of the livestock sub-sector, particularly in the arid and semi-arid areas where other forms of agriculture cannot be sustained effectively.

The demand for honey is high and Kenyan honey producers have been challenged to increase their capacity. Honey has a high market value especially in the export market. Health-conscious consumers are more aware of its therapeutic properties. It is used to make a variety of foods and confectionery and is also a food preservative.

Trends in honey production and uses

Honey is made by from nectar which is a sugary secretion of flowers. It contains sugars (80-85%) that are easily absorbed by the body. Honey is a very good energy food and also used as a sweetener. It has medicinal properties, often used to help cure coughs, ulcers, wounds and sore throats. Honey has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavour, which makes some people prefer it to sugar and other sweeteners.


Honey Processing Establishments

  • An establishment should be located in an area, which is reasonably free from objectionable odours, smoke, dust and other contaminants.
  • The establishment must be completely separated from any other buildings used for industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential or other purposes.
  • Environmental impact assessment report should be submitted to the competent authority in accordance with existing environmental laws before approval and construction is done.
  • Persons wishing to erect an export-processing establishment for honey must apply and obtain approval of the director of livestock production.

Product separation
Handling and separation of honey during processing should be done in hygienic conditions to avoid contamination from other external materials. The following key points should be taken into consideration during product separation:

  • Adequate separation of honey reception area, processing hall, packaging and storage
  • To reduce contamination if a retail business is carried on within the official premises of the establishment, customers should have access only to the rooms where such business is conducted and should be excluded from the rest of the honey establishment.
  • Where practical, key process activities should be clearly segregates to AVOID any contamination.
  • Where separation is not possible especially in small honey packaging areas, good process lay out is essential to reduce contamination.

Classification of honey

There are three broad groups on how honey is classified. Generally the basis is by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made. Honey can be from a specific type of flower nectar, of indeterminate origin, or blended after collection.

  • Blended: Most commercially available honey is blended, meaning that it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, colour, flavour, density or geographic origin.
  • Polyfloral: Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey, is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers. The taste may vary from year to year, as can the aroma the flavour, depending on which blooms are prevalent.
  • Monofloral: Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavour and colour because of differences between their principal nectar sources. In order to produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower.

Traceability of the honey
All incoming honey should have:
i. Records of delivery including date coding
ii. A batch identification system to facilitate good product rotation and traceability
iii. Source of honey if sourced within Kenya or country of origin if imported

  • It is not sufficient to assume that the product is honey. The identity of each consignment of honey should be checked to verify that it is what it purports to be.
  • The batch identification system must be used throughout the process and on all documentation to guarantee traceability and product recall.
  • All honey containers or packaging material must be traced to a coded source or supplier
  • Honey must be stored or packed in containers meant for the purpose.
  • Honey batch containers must be clean and well maintained.
  • Equipment and utensils used for preparing, processing or otherwise handling honey must be of such material as will make then easily cleaned and disinfected and must, be made of stainless steel or other material resistant to honey corrosion such as plastic and glass.
  • All compatible materials, which present a microbiological cross contamination risk or taint risk, must be completely segregated.

Structural layout of honey processing establishment
The design and layout should be made such as to prevent contamination of honey. The following minimum requirements should be maintained in the construction of a honey-processing establishment.

  • A properly built room for reception, weighing and inspection.
  • A processing hall with facilities for processing honey.
  • A dry storeroom of adequate size and distribution.
  • The material used should be impervious, easily cleaned and resistant to wear and corrosion.
  • Floors should be constructed by dense acid-resistant, waterproof concrete or terrazzo with a fine finish and walls be smooth and flat and made of concrete.
  • Wall and floor junctions should facilitate cleaning.
  • Parts of floors where wet operations are conducted should be well drained.
  • Floors should be kept clean and free from accumulation of water.
  • Ceilings should be of good height and, as far as structural conditions permit, be smooth and designed so that they are easy to keep clean.
  • The buildings should be rodent-proofed.
  • All signs of damage to the building should be dealt with immediately and repair compatible with the original finish.

Processing Equipment

  • All equipment should be positioned to have easy access to cleaning.
  • All frame works in and around equipment should be in tubular sections to minimize accumulation of debris, facilitate cleaning and reduce build up of micro and macro organisms
  • An ample supply of hot water at not less than 82ºC (degrees centigrade) should be furnished and used for the cleaning of equipment, floors and the like, which are subject to contamination of remnants or spillage of honey.

More information on export of honey available at the EPC / CBIK Library
• Honey Guidelines and Procedures
• Key contacts of beekeeping institutions, Ministries
• CBI EU Market Survey on honey and other bee products


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