True Source Honey, LLC is a not-for-profit organization launched in 2010 by a group of honey companies and importers to call attention to the problem of illegally sourced honey from China.
True Source Honey now has more than 750 members including beekeepers, honey importers, exporters and packers. An estimated 40 percent of honey sold in the United States and Canada is True Source Certified.
True Source Certified is a voluntary system for those participants in an international supply chain who wish to demonstrate through an independent third-party audit that their sourcing practices for honey are in full compliance with U.S. and international trade laws and meets the requirements of the True Source Certified standards. The program includes documentation and testing requirements as well as third-party audits.
There are two critical areas of focus in the supply chain, the exporter and the packer. In order to provide traceability, participants must adhere to all of the elements of the standards. These include proper documentation, use of the True Source Certified system of identification and in some countries, the use of third-party auditors to sample and seal loads in the country of origin prior to shipment.
Starting in 2021, True Source Certified loads of honey in excess of 30,000 pounds – whether imported to North America or purchased directly from beekeepers – are tested at some point in the supply chain using either EA/LC-IRMS and NMR or EA/LC-IRMS and HRMS to confirm authenticity. This is in addition to the long-established pollen analysis, which is a country-of-origin testing requirement for honey from high-risk countries.
The authenticity testing program can be completed at any point in the supply chain by an accredited laboratory and the results must be available to a third-party auditor for each True Source Certified load in a North America packer audit. In addition, these same tests will be conducted on random samples collected during a packer audit.
The True Source initiative seeks to help maintain the reputation of honey as a high-quality, highly valued food and further sustain the U.S. honey sector.
To that end, True Source Honey has urged the Food and Drug Administration to establish a legal definition of honey that would help in regulating the authenticity and safety of honey to safeguard American producers and consumers against those who seek to circumvent trade and food safety laws.
True Source Honey members actively support U.S. beekeepers, including supporting research to help beekeepers maintain the health and high quality of U.S. honey production and to fight colony collapse disorder. True Source Honey member companies are supporters of a strong and healthy U.S. Beekeeping industry and are members of the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers Association.
True Source Honey is managed by a volunteer board of directors and an executive director.