A new pressure group made up of UK beekeepers - Honey Authenticity Network UK (HAN UK) - is calling for better information for shoppers starting with stricter labelling for honey blends.
Two members of Somerset BKA are members of HAN UK – Lynne Ingram is Chair and Anne Pike is a committee member.
The group’s first outing in the media was in the Observer on Sunday, November 29, ’21.
”British beekeepers are calling for a requirement on supermarkets and other retailers to label cheap honey imports from China and other nations with the country of origin after claims that part of the global supply is bulked out with sugar syrup.
The UK is the world’s biggest importer of Chinese honey, which can be one sixth of the price of the honey produced by bees in Britain. Supermarket own-label honey from China can be bought for as little as 69p a jar. Supermarkets say every jar of honey is “100% pure” and can be traced back to the beekeeper, but there is no requirement to identify the countries of origin of honey blended from more than one country. The European Union is now considering new rules to improve consumer information for honey and ensure the country of origin is clearly identified on the jar.”
To read the article in full, click here.
Meanwhile, the group has set up a Facebook group to raise awareness of honey adulteration. Anyone interested in the subject is warmly invited to join.
Somerset BKA and Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI) are jointly funding PhD student Hollie Pufal at Newcastle University.
Hollie is exploring the virulent ST2 strain of EFB which is uniquely associated with Somerset and north Dorset.
Hollie and her supervisor Prof Giles Budge will be involved in our Lecture Day on 12 February, 2022.
After completing her first year, she has provided a brief report on her work to date:
"Thank you for your generous funding that has allowed me to pursue research in this exciting area. Over the past 6 months I have been establishing methods to develop a molecular workflow that could be used to generate whole genome sequencing data from infected larvae at outbreak sites, I also tested supers from infected apiaries for the presence of EFB.
I tested 4 locations on each frame for the presence of EFB, as well as capped honey and pollen, using DNA extractions and Realtime PCR. The results showed only a small trace of EFB in a couple of samples both from the frame, pollen and honey.
I plan to sequence using handheld sequencing technology, which is a cheaper and more efficient sequencing platform, so has the potential to be used more readily in the future for assessing EFB outbreaks. The issue with sequencing infected larvae material is that most of the sequence generated will be honeybee DNA, so I originally tested various methods that deplete the bee DNA and enrich the bacterial DNA. Initially I used homogenised larvae mixed with M.plutonius culture and then I moved on to infected larvae from the field. I used qPCR assays to detect both EFB and insect DNA to assess the efficiency of the depletion methods, and I now have a selection of promising methods that I will take forward to sequencing and assess the quality."