Our next webinar will have a slightly different format than those you’ve seen in the past. Get comfortable because it will be two hours long. The first hour will focus on overwintering bees. We will discuss location (urban, rural), pests and predators, feeding, temperature extremes, as well as much more. This discussion features Michael Palmer, a commercial beekeeper in northern Vermont, to help us with the northern climates, and Harry Fulton, retired State Apiarist from Mississippi, who will bring the southern perspective. To fill in the bits and pieces, Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture Magazine will be joining us. That is the first hour. The second hour will be a panel discussion of sorts on all things beekeeping. We have had numerous requests for just an Q;& A session. With this panel, there is not a question they won't be able to answer.
This Webinar is brought to you courtesy of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
Overwintering bees and Panel Discussion
Date: Sept 21, 2010
Time: 6:00-8:00PM EST
Space is limited. Registration is free so reserve your Webinar seat now at: For more information and registration Click Here
CATCH THE BUZZ
By Alan Harman
Two international honey brands are claimed to have been found with antibiotic levels well above legal limits.
India’s Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says Australia’s Capilano Honey Ltd.’s Capilano Pure and Natural Honey brand had three antibiotics detected, while Switzerland-based Narimpex AG’s Nectaflor Natural Blossom Honey brand had five antibiotics.
The Press Trust of India news agency reports Capilano denies its honey contains higher level of antibiotics than the prescribed standards and suggests the sample may have been counterfeit.
A Capilano statement says its own test results on the batches of honey identified by the dates on the packaging of the product identified in reports, show no detection of the residues alleged to be in the honey.
“The company had found counterfeit products previously in Thailand and Indonesia where it had been copied to the extent that it was neither Capilano honey, nor even a product from Australia,” Capilano Managing Director Roger Masters said.
“Recently, Capilano objected to trademark applications commenced in India to register a look-alike name Capilona.”
CSE, a public interest research and advocacy organization based in New Delhi, says its pollution monitoring lab tested 12 branded honey samples for six antibiotics and found antibiotics in 11 samples. The tested samples were bought randomly from various markets in Delhi in July 2009. Ten were Indian brands and two were imported brands.
The six antibiotics that PML looked for were oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, erythromycin, enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin.
The CSE says Capilano’s sample had 150.8 micrograms per kg of oxytetracycline, 15 times more than the 10 micrograms per kg set by the India Export Inspection Council.
The sample also had 3.6 micrograms per kg of chloramphenicol, compared to the 0.3 micrograms per kg set by the council.
The test also found 144.8 micrograms per kg of enrofloxacin, for which the council does not set a limit.
Narimpex’s sample returned 112 micrograms per kg for oxytetracycline; 3.7 micrograms per kg for chloramphenicol; 614.2 micrograms per kg for ampicillin; 56.1 micrograms per kg for enrofloxacin; and 280.3 micrograms per kg for erythromycin.
The CSE says the leading Indian honey producers - Dabur, Baidyanath, Patanjali Ayurveda, Khadi, Himalaya – all had two to four antibiotics in their products, much above the stipulated standards.
But CSE director Sunita Narain says in a statement what is even worse and shows the regulatory double-standards is that the two foreign brands tested by CSE – from Australia and Switzerland – had high levels of antibiotics and would certainly be illegal in their own countries.
“It is clear that foreign companies are taking advantage of the lack of regulations in India,” Narain says. “After all, if our government does not care about the health of its people, why should these companies care?
“We have standards for antibiotic contamination in the honey we export. Government even tests and certifies that exported honey meets health and safety regulations. But we do not have any standards for domestic honey. This is clearly unacceptable.”
“The Capilano Pure & Natural Honey sample was found to contain three antibiotics and was non-compliant with the EIC export standards as well as some standards imposed in Australia itself,” the CSE statement says.
“The fact that more than one antibiotic was found in the samples indicates the prevalent practice is to collect honey from different sources and then blend them before packing and distributing for sale. This brings into question the issue of traceability of honey.”
Oxytetracycline was found in 50% of the samples in the range of 27 to 250 micrograms per kg.
Chloramphenicol, banned by the EU, was found in 25% of the samples with levels nine to 15 times higher than the 0.3 micrograms per kg standard fixed by the EIC.
Ampicillin was found in 67% of the samples at a concentration of 10 to 614 micrograms per kg. CSE says there is no standard for ampicillin in honey in any country because it is not supposed to be used in beekeeping. It is, therefore, an unauthorized or illegal substance in honey.
Similarly, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, which do not have any standards, are being illegally used.
The results of the tests on the Indian brands were not a shock. The European Union in June banned Indian honey from entering any of its 27 member countries because consignments were found to be contaminated with antibiotics and heavy metals.
The CSE says the business of honey collection has changed – from small producers to large cartels of honey producers contracting small producers and pushing for high productivity and profits.
“The business is no longer that of health,” the CSE says. “Besides the presence of the contaminants, investigations by CSE have also exposed the murky underbelly of the international honey trade, where fraud, deceit and illegal trade practices rule the roost.”
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