New Honey Nutrition Label Will Not Have Added Sugar On The Label

CATCH THE BUZZ    September 11, 2018

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on an updated approach for including added sugar information on the Nutrition Facts labels of pure maple syrup and honey.

Advancing better nutrition is one of my top priorities and implementing the update to the iconic Nutrition Facts label — the first overhaul in 20 years — is a key part of that commitment.

We’re already seeing the new label on many products. This updated label is empowering consumers with accurate and science-based information to help them make more informed, healthier choices. As part of our updates to the Nutrition Facts label, we’ve leveraged the latest information we have on nutritional science with the intent to help reduce the burden of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Toward these goals, the final rule to update the Nutrition Facts label includes a listing of “added sugars.” The old label simply listed the total grams of sugar without distinguishing between sugars that are naturally occurring, such as in fruits and vegetables, and sugars that align with the definition of added sugars established by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines for what constitutes added sugars, which inform the development of federal nutrition policies, define added sugars as caloric sweeteners that include, not only sugar, but also honey and maple syrup as well as other sweeteners.

While added sugars can be part of a healthy dietary pattern, the science underlying the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans demonstrates that meeting nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits is difficult when added sugars contribute more than 10 percent of a person’s total daily calories. There’s strong and consistent evidence that healthy dietary patterns characterized, in part, by lower intakes of sweetened foods and beverages, are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

We’ve made it our goal to increase consumer awareness of the quantity of added sugars in food products consistent with recent dietary guideline recommendations. The updated Nutrition Facts Label is an important part of this effort. The new label also contains the new daily value for added sugars, so consumers can better understand how foods with added sugars can fit into a healthy dietary pattern.

While added sugars declared on the updated Nutrition Facts label include sweeteners added to processed foods, they also include foods that are “packaged as such” including a bag of table sugar, jar of honey or container of maple syrup. We recognized that this new labeling information on “packaged as such” products may inadvertently lead consumers to think their pure products, such as a jar of honey or maple syrup, may actually contain added table sugar or corn syrup because there are “added sugars” listed on the label.

That’s why in February 2018, we issued a draft guidance for industry open for public comment that would help clarify the added sugars declaration on the label of pure, single-ingredient “packaged as such” products like maple syrup and honey. This draft guidance was the FDA’s initial thinking about ways we can work to help ensure that the updated Nutrition Facts label is helpful to consumers. The guidance advised food manufacturers about our intent to allow the use of an obelisk symbol, “†,” immediately after the added sugars percent daily value information on containers of pure maple syrup or pure honey. This would direct consumers to language that provides information about what “added sugars” actually mean for these specific products.

As with any draft guidance, we carefully consider comments submitted to the public docket and feedback from stakeholder meetings and interactions to inform us in issuing our final guidance. In this case, the more than 3,000 comments we received on the draft guidance indicate that there are further opportunities to update our proposed approach. We’re grateful for this feedback. It has helped us identify a solution that we think will more adequately address concerns and provide needed clarity to consumers.

We’re currently drafting our final guidance, which we anticipate issuing by early next year, well in advance of the January 2020 compliance date for larger firms for the updated Nutrition Facts label. This guidance will provide a path forward for pure, single-ingredient “packaged as such” products that does not involve the standard “added sugars” declaration on the Nutrition Facts label. We are not considering changes to the required percent daily value for these products, including for products like pure honey and maple syrup. We believe that such a solution strikes the balance of addressing producer concerns that their products could be perceived as being economically adulterated while still informing consumers on how these products contribute to their daily added sugar intake.

Although we’re continuing to work on a revised approach, I believe that an updated approach will both clarify requirements to successfully implement the Nutrition Facts label and achieve the goal of empowering consumers to use the new label to make informed and healthy dietary choices. Through engaged dialogue and open public comment on our nutritional strategies, I’m committed to finding ways to advance our work in nutrition to improve the lives of all Americans by reducing the burden of preventable illness.

Catch The Buzz: New Honey Nutrition Label Will Not Have Added Sugar on the Label

University of California to Measure Economic Impact of Honey Industry

Project Apis m.     May 17, 2018

Industry can promote its economic contributions – but only if beekeepers, importers, packers and processors participate in study.

FREDERICK, Colo. (May 16, 2018) – From beekeepers and honey importers to packers and processors, the honey industry plays a unique and vital role in the U.S. economy.  To illustrate the industry’s true impact, the University of California is asking business owners to complete a short survey. The questionnaire will measure the economic impact of all aspects of the honey industry by calculating the number of jobs the industry creates and its total economic activity.   

The questionnaire’s data will be used to create a final report that showcases the role of the honey industry in the broader U.S. economy as well as its impact on regional economies throughout the country.

To accurately assess this large and varied industry, the University of California is looking to the businesses that make up the honey industry to take part in the questionnaire. The information will be entirely confidential, with the survey conducted online through a secure form without personally-identifiable information. Participants have until Friday, June 15, 2018 to complete the survey.

“The University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis is committed to helping agricultural organizations better understand their economic impact,” said Project Scientist Dr. Bill Matthews. “We’re looking forward to quantifying the honey industry’s important role within the U.S. economy.”

To participate in the U.S. Honey Industry Impact Questionnaire, please visit the US Honey Economic Impact Survey before June 15, 2018.

“The honey industry makes significant contributions to the US economy,” said Margaret Lombard, CEO of the National Honey Board. “Finally being able to quantify our impact the way other industries have will allow us to generate goodwill for our industry’s many contributions.”

To learn more about the University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis, please visit https://aic.ucdavis.edu. For more information on the National Honey Board, please visit www.honey.com.

About National Honey Board
The National Honey Board (NHB) is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. The Board’s work, funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey, is designed to increase the awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. The ten-member-Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, represents producers (beekeepers), packers, importers and a marketing cooperative. For more information, visit www.honey.com.

About University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis
The University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) was established in 1985 to research and analyze crucial trends and policy issues affecting agriculture and interlinked natural and human resources in California and the West. The Center, which consists of a director, several associate directors, a small professional staff and an Advisory Board, provides independent and objective research-based information on a range of critical, emerging agricultural issues such as food and agricultural commodity markets, the value of agricultural research and development, farm costs and returns, consequences of food and agricultural policy and rural resources and the environment. The audience for AIC research and outreach includes decision makers in industry, non-governmental organizations and governments as well as scholars, journalists, students and the general public.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: 
Jessica Schindler: Media@nhb.org, (303) 776-2337

https://www.projectapism.org/project-apis-m-blog/university-of-california-to-measure-economic-impact-of-honey-industry

FDA - New Rule on Honey Labels Comment Deadline June 15, 2018

regulations.gov

PR The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products: Draft Guidance for Industry; Extension of Comment Period

This Proposed Rule document was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

For related information, Open Docket Folder

Action

Notification of availability; extension of comment period.

Summary

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is extending the comment period for the notification of availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products: Guidance for Industry” that appeared in the Federal Register of March 2, 2018. The draft guidance, when finalized, will advise food manufacturers of our intent to exercise enforcement discretion related to the use in the Nutrition Facts label of a symbol “†” immediately after the added sugars percent Daily Value information on certain foods. The symbol would lead the reader to truthful and non-misleading statements outside the Nutrition Facts label to provide additional information regarding the added sugars present in particular foods. We are taking this action in response to requests for an extension to allow interested persons additional time to submit comments.

Dates

We are extending the comment period on the document that published in the Federal Register of March 2, 2018 (83 FR 8953). Submit either electronic or written comments by June 15, 2018.

Addresses

You may submit comments as follows:

Electronic Submissions

Submit electronic comments in the following way:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.

If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

Written/Paper Submissions

Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2018-D-0075 for “The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products: Guidance for Industry.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

For Further Information Contact

Blakely Fitzpatrick, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 5001 Campus Dr., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-1450.

Supplementary Information

I. Background

In the Federal Register of March 2, 2018 (83 FR 8953), we published a document announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products: Guidance for Industry.” The draft guidance is intended to advise food manufacturers of our intent to exercise enforcement discretion related to the use in the Nutrition Facts label of a symbol “†” immediately after the added sugars percent Daily Value information on certain foods. The symbol would lead the reader to truthful and non-misleading statements outside the Nutrition Facts label to provide additional information regarding the added sugars present in particular foods. The draft guidance explains that we intend to consider exercising enforcement discretion for the use of this symbol on single ingredient packages and/or containers of pure honey or pure maple syrup, and certain dried cranberry and cranberry juice products that are sweetened with added sugars, and that contain total sugars at levels no greater than comparable products with endogenous (inherent) sugars, but no added sugars. We provided a 60-day comment period that was scheduled to close on May 1, 2018.

We have received requests to extend the comment period for the draft guidance (Refs. 1 and 2). The requests conveyed concern that the current 60-day comment period does not allow sufficient time to develop meaningful or thoughtful comments to the draft guidance.

We have considered the requests and are extending the comment period for the draft guidance for 45 additional days, until June 15, 2018. We believe that this extension allows adequate time for interested persons to submit comments without significantly delaying finalizing the guidance.

II. References

The following references are on display at the Dockets Management Staff (see ADDRESSES) and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; they are also available electronically at https://www.regulations.gov.

1. Letter from Margaret Lombard, Chief Executive Officer, National Honey Board, to FDA Dockets Management Staff (April 3, 2018).

2. Letter from Ray Bonenberg, President, International Maple Syrup Institute, to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, FDA (April 4, 2018).

Dated: April 19, 2018.

Leslie Kux,
Associate Commissioner for Policy.

[FR Doc. 2018-08603 Filed 4-24-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4164-01-P

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2018-D-0075-0083

(NOTE: Thanks to Anthony Thiessen for the link and quote: "The FDA is considering whether honey labels should say "added sugar." Even though our product is inherently sweet, there is nothing added, so I feel that label would be a misrepresentation. The public comment period ends on June 15th, Please please please share this link around to anyone keepers or clubs you know! https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2018-D-0075-0083.")

Pollinator: Judgment Day

University of Maryland: the1a.org (NPR) March 27, 2018

Mohammed Abed/Getty Images

The continued decline of bee colonies — they fell by a third from 2016 to 2017 — has inspired some criminal enterprises.

honeybee heist in California led to the discovery of a “beehive chop shop” and thieves scheming to pinch pollinators.

And then there’s honey. “Foods that can’t be differentiated by sight will often be faked, and honey fills the bill,” writes Larry Olmsted, who investigated food fraud for a book.

Complex global trades can obscure the true source — and composition — of the gooey goods in our cupboards. So when we buy a bottle or a bear, how do we know we’re getting the good stuff?

Guests

Kim Flottum Editor, Bee Culture Magazine

Eric Wenger Chairman, True Source Honey

Margarita Lopez-Uribe Assistant professor of entomology, Penn State University; she studies how environmental changes impact the bee population.

Gene Brandi Past president, current board member at the American Beekeeping Federation; owner, Gene Brandi Apiaries

How To Make Sure Your Honey Is Real

1. Inspect the label. By law, it must include the honey’s country of origin. The highest-quality honey typically comes from Argentina, Canada, and the United States. And as for the location of the packer: if it’s a distant place you’ve never heard of, that’s a red flag.

2. Look for a stamp of approval. Certification programs like True Source Honey investigate honey supply chains abroad. If honey passes the test, you’ll be able to tell by the certified logo on the label.

3. Do your research. If you’re curious about a honey product or ingredient, you can call the collector or manufacturer and find out more information.

4. Check out your local farmer’s market. That way, you can talk to the beekeeper in person.

https://wamu.org/story/18/03/27/pollinator-judgement-day/

Honey as Medicine: Historical Perspectives

IBRA   Source: Journal of Apiculture Research - 2018

The use of honey as an internal and external health agent is much older than the history of medicine itself. In a new article published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, Andrzej Kuropatnickia and colleagues from the Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland explore the history of the use of honey for medical purposes.

The earliest recorded medical prescription including honey is from Sumer. Honey was used as a remedy against a variety of illnesses in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome (see photo of a Roman honey jar from the IBRA / Eva Crane Historical Collection). There are frequent references to honey in sacred texts. Honey has a long tradition, not only in Western medicine but also in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Honey was not commonly used by medical practitioners after the fall of the Roman Empire. In medieval times honey was not a popular subject of medical texts and very little was written on its use in that period. In the nineteenth century honey was neglected due to the development of modern synthetic medicine. Its comeback has, however, been observable as early as the beginnings of the twentieth century, and honey has been used again as a remedy for a variety of health problems and an excellent wound healer.

The article: “Honey as medicine: historical perspectives” can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/…/…/10.1080/00218839.2017.1411182

You can join IBRA here to to gain access to all papers in issue 57(1), and the entire back catalogue of the Journal of Apicultural Research to Issue 1 in 1962 and the entire back catalogue of Bee World to Issue 1 in 1919:http://www.ibrabee.org.uk/2013-05-01-02…/2014-12-12-12-06-01

IBRA is a Registered Charity No 209222. You can make a donation to help our work here: http://www.ibrabee.org.uk/ibra-donations

Take It From a Bee Guy: Honey Is Not 'Bee Vomit'

Bug Squad   By Kathy Keatley Garvey      January 10, 2018

Close-up of a returning foraging bee sharing nectar with her sisters. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)Take it from the bee scientists. Honey is NOT vomit.

That incongruous belief that “Honey is bee vomit” is resurfacing on a number of YouTube channels, opinion pieces and other Internet posts. It's usually said with great glee: “Honey is bee vomit! It's bee puke! It's bee barf!”

Is it #FakeNews?

We asked noted honey bee guru Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus at the University of California, Davis, whose career in bee education spans four decades, to settle the issue. Although he retired in 2014, he keeps active. Last year he completed a term--his sixth--as president of the Western Apicultural Society. He maintains an office in Briggs Hall.

And he continues to answer questions about bees and honey.

“As for the bees and vomit issue, the explanation requires quite a bit of knowledge,” Mussen says. It's about an "expandable pouch called 'the honey stomach' (which we humans do not have) and a valve called the "proventriculus" (which we humans do not have)."

“As most people know, honey begins as a dilute sugar solution secreted by ‘nectaries,' sugar syrup-secreting glands which are located in flowers or in extra-floral nectaries,” Mussen explains. “Pollen is not a natural constituent of nectar.  The nectar is sucked up by honey bees and it passes into an expandable pouch called the ‘honey stomach.'  This is the pre-digestive part of the part of the digestive tract that honey bees use to bring water and nectar to the hive.  In honey bees and other insects, this ‘crop' precedes the portions of the digestive tract used for digesting food.  There is a unique valve between the crop and the ventriculus (midgut), called the ‘proventriculus,' that has rake-like projections that constantly pull particulates, like pollen grains, from the crop contents and push them along for digestion.”

Honey bee guru Eric Mussen (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)“A nectar-foraging bee,” Mussen points out, “returns to the hive and pumps out the nectar to a receiving bee.  An enzyme is mixed with the crop contents that reduces sucrose (table sugar), a disaccharide normally found in nectar, into two monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) that are the principal sugars in ripened honey.  If the nectar is not immediately used as a water substitute or for diluting thick honey or solid pollen stores to allow swallowing, it is carried to the area in the hive where honey is being processed.  The nectar is passed to processing bees that blend the incoming nectar loads, mix them together, then pump out a bit of solution and hold a small sheet of the syrup in its partially distended mouthparts.  Water evaporates from the surface of the syrup.  The drier solution is drawn back into the crop and mixed with the other contents.”

“Then the film is again exposed to the air.  That process repeats itself until the moisture content of the syrup falls below 20 percent.  Evaporation is influenced significantly by the relative humidity.  Since honey will ferment at moisture contents above 20 percent, it is important to leave the honey with the bees until it can be immediately processed in locations with high humidity.  That honey will seem to be thin.  During the summer in California, the ambient relative humidity is quite low--15 percent or less.  In that case, honey produced in the Central Valley can have a moisture content of 13 to 13.5 percent.  That honey is quite thick.”

As an aside, “pollen grains are likely to be found in honey,” Mussen says. “Wind-blown pollens can fall into flowers that are open faced.  Pollen grains are collected by hairs on the bees' bodies.  They can get onto the mouthparts and become consumed with the nectar.  Nectar-processing bees may have eaten some pollen in the hive before processing the honey.  This is how the pollen grains get into honey.  They do not necessarily get consumed with the fresh nectar.  Physical contaminants of honey have to be quite small, like pollen grains, since the bees ingest all their food by drinking it through a straw-like proboscis with a very small opening at the tip.  Most of the physical contaminants are removed by the proventriculus.”

And here's the point: “Since honey never is mixed with digesting food in the intestinal tract, it is inaccurate to refer to honey as ‘bee vomit.'  A dictionary definition of vomit includes ‘disgorging the stomach contents through the mouth.'  Since a human does not have a crop, the stomach is in direct contact with the esophagus and mouth.  In a bee, the proventriculus and crop are in direct contact with the mouth.  The digestion of solid foods in bees begins in the ventriculus and there is no way that a honey bee can bring that food back through the proventriculus, or ‘vomit.'

 Which begs the question: Why can't we enjoy honey for what it is, not for what it isn't?

We can. Mark your calendar to attend these two events: the  second annual California Honey Festivalon May 5 in downtown Woodland (it's held in partnership with the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center) and the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy (hosted by the Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) on March 3 in the UC Davis Conference Center. The Bee Symposium will feature keynote speaker Thomas Seeley, the Horace White Professor in Biology at Cornell University, New York.

Interested in beekeeping? UC Davis Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her lab will teach a number of classes this spring, beginning March 24, at the Harry H.Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis campus.

The schedule and links to the capsule information:

Planning Ahead for Your First Hives: Saturday, March 24

Working Your Colonies: Sunday, March 25

Queen-Rearing Techniques Short Course: Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 course; Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29 course

Bee-Breeding Basics: Saturday, June 9

Foraging bees return to the hive to share nectar, which the house bees will turn into honey. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bees sharing nectar with their hungry sisters. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25974

Bee-Harming Pesticides In 75 Percent Of Honey Worldwide: Study

 PHYS.ORG    By Kerry Sheridan     October 5, 2017

Bees help pollinate 90 percent of the world's major crops, but in recent years have been dying off from "colony collapse disorder" Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-bee-harming-pesticides-percent-honey-worldwide.

Traces of pesticides that act as nerve agents on bees have been found in 75 percent of honey worldwide, raising concern about the survival of these crucial crop pollinators, researchers said Thursday.

Human health is not likely at risk from the concentrations detected in a global sampling of 198 types of honey, which were below what the European Union authorizes for human consumption, said the report in the journal Science.

However, the study found that 34 percent of honey samples were contaminated with "concentrations of neonicotinoids that are known to be detrimental" to bees, and warned that chronic exposure is a threat to bee survival.

Bees help pollinate 90 percent of the world's major crops, but in recent years have been dying off from "colony collapse disorder," a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or some combination of these factors.

"The findings are alarming," said Chris Connolly, a neurobiology expert at the University of Dundee, who also wrote a Perspective article alongside the research in Science.

"The levels detected are sufficient to affect bee brain function and may hinder their ability to forage on, and pollinate, our crops and our native plants."

Neonicotinoids have been declared a key factor in bee decline worldwide, and the European Union issued a partial ban on their use in 2013.

For the Science study, the European samples were collected largely before this ban took effect, Connolly said. Further research is needed to gauge the effectiveness of the EU steps.

Five common pesticides

Bees collect nectar as they pollinate plants, and over time this sugary liquid accumulates into the thick syrup of honey.

To test contamination levels, samples of honey were taken from local producers worldwide, and researchers tested for five commonly used neonicotinoids: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam.

These pesticides, introduced in the mid 1990s, are based on the chemical structure of nicotine and attack the nervous systems of insect pests.

"Overall, 75 percent of all honey samples contained at least one neonicotinoid," said the study, led by Edward Mitchell of the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland.

"Of these contaminated samples, 30 percent contained a single neonicotinoid, 45 percent contained two or more, and 10 percent contained four or five."

The frequency of contamination was highest in the North American samples (86 percent), followed by Asia (80 percent) and Europe (79 percent).

The lowest concentrations were seen in South American samples (57 percent).

"These results suggest that a substantial proportion of world pollinators are probably affected by neonicotinoids," said the study.

'Serious concern'

Our planet is home to some 20,000 species of bees, which fertilize more than 90 percent of the world's 107 major crops.

The United Nations warned in 2016 that 40 percent of invertebrate pollinators—particularly bees and butterflies—risk global extinction.

Experts said that while the findings are not exactly a surprise, the threat posed by neonicotinoids should be taken seriously.

"The levels recorded (up to 56 nanogram per gram) lie within the bioactive range that has been shown to affect bee behavior and colony health," said plant ecologist Jonathan Storkey, who was not involved in the study.

"Scientists showed earlier this year that levels of less than 9 ng/g reduced wild bee reproductive success," he added.

"I therefore agree with the authors that the accumulation of pesticides in the environment and the concentrations found in hives is a serious environmental concern and is likely contributing to pollinator declines."

According to Lynn Dicks, natural environment research council fellow at the University of East Anglia, the findings are "sobering" but don't offer a precise picture of the threat to bees.

"The severity of the global threat to all wild pollinators from neonicotinoids is not completely clear from this study, because we don't know how the levels measured in honey relate to actual levels in nectar and pollen that wild pollinators are exposed to," she said.

The levels of exposure to harmful pesticides may be far higher than what can be measured in honey, said Felix Wackers, a professor at Lancaster University who was not involved in the research.

"This shows that honeybees are commonly exposed to this group of pesticides while collecting neonicotinoid-contaminated nectar from treated crops or from flowers that have come into contact with spray drift or soil residues," he said.

"The actual level of exposure can be substantially higher, as the honey samples analyzed in this study represents an average of nectar collection over time and space."

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-bee-harming-pesticides-percent-honey-worldwide.html#jCp

Show Me The Honey From Your Bees

Bug Squad    By Kathy Keatley Garvey     July 26, 2017

(There's still time to fill out the forms to enter your honey in the next Good Foods Awards competition; the deadline is Monday, July 31, 2017.)

A honey bee foraging on star thistle, Centaurea solstitialis. It’s an invasive weed but makes great honey, beekeepers and honey connoisseurs say. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey) Imagine watching your honey bees gathering nectar from star thistle--which some beekeepers claim makes the best honey. (Yes, Centaurea solstitialis is an invasive weed. The love-hate relationship runs deep; farmers and environmentalists hate it; beekeepers love it.)

Then imagine you picking up one of the top prizes in the country for having the best honeycomb--made from star thistle honey.

That's what happened when Miss Bee Haven Honey of Brentwood, Calif., entered its honey in the national Good Foods Awards competition and won one of the top 2017 awards. Their bees, based in numerous locations, primarily forage in the San Francisco Bay Area and along the Delta.

Fast forward to today. There's still time to fill out the forms to enter your honey in the next Good Foods Awards competition; the deadline is Monday, July 31. Only the form--not the honey--is due July 31. The honey can be the August harvest, as the judging won't take place until Sept. 17 in San Francisco, said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, who coordinates the contest. She announced that awards will be given in four subcategories: Liquid and Naturally Crystallized, Creamed, Comb, and Infused Honey. 

Dates to keep in mind, in addition to the July 31 entry deadline (see entry information and the full criteria for honey) are Sept. 17 when the blind tasting takes place in San Francisco (entrants will be asked to ship their product a week in advance; and October 2017 (high scoring products undergo sustainability vetting) and November 2017 (when finalists are announced).

Harris says there are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States. "The Good Food Awards," she said, "will showcase honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility." 

Harris and master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo are coordinating the honey committee, which also includes

Emily Brown, Owner, AZ Queen Bee

Mark Carlson, Beekeeping instructor and entomologist, Round Rock Honey Beekeeping School

Kim Flottum, editor,  Bee Culture Magazine

Marina Marchese, Founder, The American Honey Tasting Society and co-author The Honey Connoisseur

Terry Oxford, Owner, UrbanBee San Francisco 

The 2017 winners who took home the bragging rights:

Bee Girl, Bee Girl Honey, Oregon

Bee Local, Bee Local Sauvie Honey, Oregon

Bee Squared Apiaries, Rose Honey, Colorado

Bees' Needs, Fabulous Fall, New York

Bloom Honey Orange Blossom, California

Gold Star Honeybees, Gold Star Honey, Maine

Hani Honey Company, Raw Creamed Wildflower Honey, Florida

Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California

MtnHoney, Comb Honey Chunk, Georgia

Posto Bello Apiaries, Honey, Maine

Sequim Bee Farm, Honey, Washington

Simmons Family Honey, Saw Palmetto Honey, Georgia

Two Million Blooms, Raw Honey, Illinois

UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince and Tree Blossom Honey, Napa, California

The Honey and Pollination Center is affiliated with the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For more information contact Amina Harris at (530) 754-9301 or aharris@ucdavis.edu.

Honey comb being processed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey) The colors of honey sparkle in the sunlight. This photo, taken in 2009, shows former UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey (now of Washington State University) and her then assistant, Elizabeth Frost (now of New South Wales) at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24761

The Development of New Sugar Standards Could Reduce Sugars, and Add Honey

CATCH THE BUZZ    By Keith Loria    February 20, 2017

The Union of Concerned Scientists has petitioned the FDA to create “disqualifying levels” of added sugars that would prevent retailers and manufacturers from labeling or advertising high-sugar food products as “healthy,” according to the National Law Review.

The FDA has not changed the requirements of what constitutes a “healthy” food product since 1994, and the agency recently asked for comments to help it decide if the term should be redefined. 

The petition will most likely be a topic for conversation at the FDA’s scheduled March 9 public meeting.

The Union of Concerned Scientists collaborates with more than 17,000 scientists and technical experts across the country. With more than 180,000 connections on Facebook and 41,000 followers on Twitter, its opinion can be very persuasive.

The FDA is looking to groups like this during its public comment period to solicit feedback on guidance for the updated definition of “healthy,” just as it did in redefining “natural” last year.

The development of new sugar standards would be a timely update by the FDA. Consumer distrust of sugar is at an all-time high, and local taxes on sugary drinks were met with strong consumer support in several states last year.

The risk of losing a “healthy” label, an identifier that a majority of consumers seek on the products they buy, puts further pressure on manufacturers to reformulate their products. This could be achieved by swapping sugar for plant-based and natural sweeteners, such as stevia extract, agave nectar and honey. Consumer concern over health is no longer just tied to calorie counts — people want their products to be as natural as possible, and sugar has become a major no-no ingredient as a result. 

Some companies have responded to this consumer trend by innovating sugar itself, rather than replacing it with an alternative. Nestle, for example, has developed a way to reconstruct the sugar moleculeso that its hollow on the inside. This could allow the confection giant to cut sugar content in its products by up to 40% without sacrificing sweetness.

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-development-new-sugar-standards-reduce-sugars-add-honey/

Romania Tops EU Honey Production With About 6 Million Hives

CATCH THE BUZZ     By Alan Harman    January 23, 2017

Romania becomes the largest honey producer in the European Union with output rising to 35,000 tons last year up 75% from 20,000 tonnes in 2014.

The difference results from EU funding. European beekeepers, who manage some 16 million hives, received EUR 66.2 million ($70.18 million) in each of the last two years, with half from the EU and the other half from the member states’ national budgets

Romania was allocated 10% of the EU money.

Spain, which received 16% of the EU funding, was the second-highest honey producer at 32,300 tonnes, ahead of Hungary with 30,700 tonnes.

The EU funds are allocated to each member state based on the number of hives on its territory.

Almost half of the money went to the five member states with the largest number of hives – Spain, France, Greece, Romania, and Italy.

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-romania-tops-eu-honey-production-6-million-hives/?utm_source=Catch+The+Buzz&utm_campaign=2dd34369c0-Catch_The_Buzz_4_29_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0272f190ab-2dd34369c0-256242233

Honey - Good to Eat, Good for Your Skin, Just Plain Good for You

CATCH THE BUZZ    January 17, 2017

People do not need to shell out big bucks for beauty products, especially since some of the best beauty products can already be found on kitchen shelves.

For facial wash, honey is actually a surprising alternative. “Honey is the oldest skin-care ingredient and has been used extensively for both medical and skin-care purposes,” Neil Sadick, MD, the founder of Sadick Dermatology in New York.

People who have skin issues will definitely benefit from a honey facial wash because it can help soothe skin ailments. “It has antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and it nurtures the skin. Honey’s particularly suitable for sensitive skin,” said Sadick.

Some people might harbor doubts on honey’s effectiveness as a skin cleaner. But Carla Marina Marchese, the founder and beekeeper of Red Bee Honey, and co-author of The Honey Connoisseur, said the thick, sweet product is a good salve for breakouts. It even has strong antibacterial properties that fight acne.

“Honey has a very low pH, so a lot of bacterias cannot survive in honey,” she said. “It’s about a 3.5 on average on the pH scale, and most bacteria need to thrive in closer to a 7 on the scale.”

But that’s not all honey does for the skin. It’s quite moisturising as well, and can be used by people with chapped noses or super red and dry flaky patches.

“Honey is moisture-grabbing because it’s a super-saturated solution, meaning the bees keep a lot of sugar in a little bit of water,” said Marchese. “So it’s always trying to grab water from the air to balance out the sugar. This is why people use it for baked goods — it keeps them moist for longer.”

However, Marchese warned that people shouldn’t just rush out to the grocery store and purchase whatever honey bottle they can lay their hands on. People should stick to raw honey that can be bought from the local farmer’s market, or even manuka honey, which costs more than the regular honey.

“You need to use the best quality honey that you can get,” Marchese said.

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-honey-good-eat-good-skinjust-plain-good/?utm_source=Catch+The+Buzz&utm_campaign=a4a883a49f-Catch_The_Buzz_4_29_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0272f190ab-a4a883a49f-256242233

Australian Manuka Honey

CATCH THE BUZZ    From University of Technology, Sydney    January 8, 2016

A UTS researcher with manuka honey in the lab. Credit: Vanessa Valenzuela DavieAustralian manuka honey is at least as powerful against bacteria as the more commonly known New Zealand variety, researchers have found.

A team led by Professor Liz Harry at UTS has studied more than 80 honey samples from NSW and Queensland flowering manuka (Leptospermum) trees and found the nectar-derived chemical that gives NZ manuka honey its unique antibacterial properties is present in Australian varieties.

The ground-breaking research also shows the antibacterial properties of honey remain unchanged over several years when stored appropriately.

“These findings put Australian manuka honey on the international radar at a time when antibiotic resistance is recognised as a global crisis,” said Dr Nural Cokcetin, of the ithree institute at UTS, a lead author of the study which also includes collaborators at the University of Sydney and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

“All honeys have different flavours and medicinal properties, depending on the flowers bees visit for nectar. What makes manuka honey so special is the exceptionally high level of stable antibacterial activity that arises from a naturally occurring compound in the nectar of manuka flowers. It’s the ingredient we know acts against golden staph and other superbugs resistant to current antibiotics.

“Our study provides the proof for what we’ve long assumed – that this compound, methylglyoxal (MGO), is present in high levels in Australian manuka honeys. We’ve also shown that the activity of Australian manuka honeys has remained unchanged over seven years from harvest, which has huge implications for extending the shelf life of medicinal honey products.”

The findings are described as a game-changer for Australian beekeepers, who stand to benefit from the lucrative medicinal honey market, and clinicians seeking treatments for resistant skin infections and chronic and acute wounds.

While honey has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, the growing global crisis of antibiotic resistance has revived interest in its clinical use. New Zealand is the primary source of medicinal honey but the country grows only one Leptospermum species, and its honey bee population is threatened by the parasitic varroa mite.

Australia is home to 83 of the 87 known Leptospermum species and is still free of the varroa mite, unlike the rest of the beekeeping world.

The research is part of a five-year UTS project funded by the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC), through its Honey Bee and Pollination research program. There are about 12,400 registered beekeepers in Australia, and about 200,000 hives used for commercial pollination and honey production. The industry produces up to 30,000 tonnes of honey annually.

“It is thrilling to be able to use our research expertise and knowledge to help the bee industry and to address the antibiotic resistance crisis,” said Professor Liz Harry, director of the ithree institute at UTS and lead investigator of the project.

“Honey not only kills bacteria on contact but we have shown previously that bacteria don’t become resistant to honey.

“That the manuka varieties in Australia are just as active as those in New Zealand, and have essentially the same chemical profile, will add significant value to Australian honey for beekeepers and provide a plentiful supply of medicinal honey.”

Honey Bee & Pollination R&D Program spokesperson Michael Hornitzky said the findings could see the value of Australian honey increase significantly as demand rose.

“Discovering this extensive resource base cements Australia’s role in helping to supply the growing medicinal honey market,” Dr Hornitzky said.

“These findings go to the heart of what we’re trying to achieve, and that is to grow a prosperous beekeeping sector. The next step is turning the science into action.”

More information: Cokcetin NN, et al. (2016) The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167780. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167780

Journal reference: PLoS ONE

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-australian-manuka-honey-medicinal-powerhouse/?utm_source=Catch+The+Buzz&utm_campaign=64205fbe50-Catch_The_Buzz_4_29_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0272f190ab-64205fbe50-256242233

Sweet: Is Honey The Key To The Next Generation Of Antimicrobials?

Student Science     November 18, 2016

One teen's study finds Manuka honey can ward off infection and speed healing.As resistance to existing antibiotics — including so-called treatments of last resort — continues to rise, scientists are looking to other sources to develop next-generation antimicrobials. One of the most promising potential candidates is also one of the sweetest: honey.

But can it really work to ward off infection and speed healing? The results of a small study by 2015 Broadcom MASTERS second place winner Hannah Cevasco say yes, at least for Manuka honey, a honey found in Australia and New Zealand that is purported to have healing properties.

She used diluted solutions of Manuka honey on human dermal fibroblasts she cultured in a lab at Stanford University. (Dermal fibrobasts are cells in skin tissue. They migrate to the site of an injury because they generate the connective tissue that helps skin heal).

Hannah flooded her cell cultures with diluted solutions of Manuka honey at 0.5, 1, and 2 percent concentrations. She also used a culture dish with a 1 percent honey solution that she replaced multiple times, in order to mimic the way someone would change a wound dressing.

Results showed that Manuka honey at 1 percent concentration had a significant effect on cell migration, while the 0.5 percent and 2 percent concentrations had a minimal effect. 

Hannah, who hopes one day to be a pediatric oncologist, is interested in exploring other claims about the healing properties of Manuka honey — especially with regards to its abilities to fight cancer. She’ll be continuing her work with HeLa cervical cancer cells in a lab at Stanford University.

Meet Hannah Cevasco

Read more about Hannah's medical aspirations and her STEM summer camp experience.

This is America at Its Best: Announcing the Good Food Award Finalists of 2017

CATCH THE BUZZ-Bee Culture   November 29, 2016

San Francisco, CA (November 14, 2016) – The Good Food Awards could not be more proud to announce the 291 Finalists of 2017, representing not just the best of America’s growing food movement, but the best of America. At a time when the values our country stands for are in question, they exemplify all that is right from coast to coast: our proud immigrant history, stewardship of a rich and fertile agricultural landscape, a spirit of innovation and the daily choice to balance personal gain with the well-being of the commons.

Representing 14 categories and 38 states, all Finalists rose to the top in a blind tasting of the 2,059 entries from nearly every state and passed a rigorous vetting to confirm they met specific Good Food Awards standards around environmentally sound agriculture practices, good animal husbandry, sourcing transparency and responsible relationships throughout the supply chain. Amongst their ranks are Nadia Hubbi in California, a Muhammara crafter keeping her Syrian family’s tradition alive; Nacxitl Gaxiola in Brooklyn, whose company was created to honor the traditional salsas, moles, escabechese and adobes of Mexico; Paul Lieggi in Oregon working with the fishermen and women of the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakima and Warm Springs tribes to source hoop caught Chinook Salmon for his aromatic hardwood smoked salmon; and Ann and Dan Trudel, a husband and wife farmer and preserver growing and pickling organic brussels sprouts in the heart of rural Ohio. These 291 Finalists – and the hundreds of farmers, ranchers, fishermen and colleagues they collaborate with – are actively building the sort of world we want to live in.

The 200 Good Food Award Winners will be announced Friday, January 20, 2017, at a gala Awards Ceremony at the historic Herbst Theater in the San Francisco War Memorial, on the same stage where the United Nations charter was signed, and will be followed by two more days of celebration. Medals will be bestowed by renowned chef and activist Alice Waters and organics pioneer Nell Newman, tipping their hats to these exceptional food producers. A reception with the winning food and drink will follow the ceremony, offering both regional ‘tasting plates’ and small bites created by local chefs. A limited number of tickets are available to join the Winners and their families at the ceremony and reception ($120 here).

On Saturday, January 21the beautiful Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center will transform into the Good Food Mercantile, a one-of-a-kind, intimate ‘un-trade show’ where both Winners and members of the Good Food Merchants Guild – 400 exemplary food crafters meeting the same sustainability criteria – exhibit their wares to 600 industry buyers and media ($35 tickets, open only to the trade). The Good Food Awards Marketplace rounds out the weekend on Sunday, January 22 from 9 AM – 2 PM. Everyone from far and wide is invited to come meet the Winners, taste and buy their prize-worthy food and drink (including bottles of beer, cider and spirits not licensed for sale in California, but permitted for sale within the federally-owned historic landmark of Fort Mason Center). Proudly welcoming the Winners, and also selling to the public, will be the local farmers of the Fort Mason Center Farmers MarketTickets to the Good Food Awards Marketplace are $5 and will be available in December online at goodfoodawards.org as well as at the door, with a limited number of $20 Early Access passes (with a welcome gift) for those keen to connect with the freshly minted Good Food Award Winners before the crowds arrive.

The Good Food Awards, organized by the Good Food Foundation 501 (c) 3, are proudly supported by the Good Food Retailers Collaborative, the Presenting Sponsor for three years running. Composed of 21 of the country’s top independently owned retailers from Austin to Oakland to Salt Lake City, they are committed to supporting America’s great food producers in their own communities and across the country and include: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Bi-Rite Market, The Brooklyn Kitchen, Canyon Market, Cooks of Crocus Hill, Cowgirl Creamery, Di Bruno Bros., Each Peach Market, Foragers Market, Glen’s Garden Market, The Greene Grape, Healdsburg SHED, JM Stock Provisions, Liberty Heights Fresh, Look’s Market, Market Hall Foods, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, TASTE, Washington’s Green Grocer, Woodstock Farmers’ Market, and Zingerman’s Family of Businesses. Joining them is a vibrant group of key supporters, including Premier Sponsors Williams-Sonoma, Bi-Rite Market and Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture; and Lead Sponsors Dominic Phillips Event Marketing, Impact HUB Bay Area, Veritable Vegetable and BCV Architects.

Click here for event details and tickets, a full list of Finalists below.

GOOD FOOD AWARDS 2017 HONEY FINALISTS

Akaka Falls Farm, Lehua Honey, Hawaii
Ann’s Raspberry Farm/Voracious Honey, Raspberry Blossom, Ohio 
Apoidea Apiary, Allegheny Spring Blossom Honey, Pennsylvania 
Bear Creek Organic Farm, Boyne Honey, Michigan 
Bee Wild, 100% Pure and Raw Sourwood Honey, Georgia 
Bee’s Needs, Marvelous May, New York 
Bloom Honey, Avocado Honey & Sage Honey, California 
C&C Orchards, Wildflower Honey, Massachusetts 
Crusher Honey, Crusher Honey, Illinois 
Gold Star Honeybees, Gold Star Honeycomb, Maine 
Hall’s Honey, Raw Extracted Honey, Nevada 
Highland Honey, Fermented Turmeric In Creamed Honey, Colorado 
Island Bee Company, Clethra Honey, Massachusetts
Mad Urban Bees, Urban Honey, Wisconsin
Miss Bee Haven Honey, Honey Comb, California
MtnHoneySpring Wildflower, Georgia
Old Blue Natural Resources, Harlan: Bigleaf Maple & Harlan: Wild Blackberry, Oregon
Olympic Wilderness Apiary, Fireweed Honey, Washington
Playflight Honey, Kelsey Creek Spring Raw Honey, California
San Francisco Bee-Cause, Bee Farm Honey, California
Sequim Bee Farm, Lavender Honey & Saffron Spun Honey & Blackberry-Infused Honey, Washington
Simmons Family Honey, Wildflower Honey, Georgia
Tewksbury Honey, Spring Harvest, Massachusetts
Two Hives Honey, Zilker Comb, Texas
Williams Honey Farm, Wildflower Honey, Tennessee

About the Good Food Awards
The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsible. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.
Find out more at: www.goodfoodawards.org

 

About the Organizers
The Good Food Foundation 501 (c) 3 organizes the Awards in collaboration with a broad community of food producers, activists and passionate food-lovers. It is led by Sarah Weiner and Dominic Phillips, who have united their diverse skills to support the Good FoodMovement.

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-america-best-announcing-good-food-awards-finalists-2017/?utm_source=Catch+The+Buzz&utm_campaign=521841592e-Catch_The_Buzz_4_29_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0272f190ab-521841592e-256252085

More Bad News for Honey as U.S. Seeks to Get Handle on Glyphosate Residues in Food

Huntington Post    By Carey Gillam   Novembere 2, 2016

Testing for residues of an herbicide developed by Monsanto Co. that has been linked to cancer has turned up high levels in honey from the key farm state of Iowa, adding to concerns about contamination that have triggered at least two lawsuits against honey industry players and prompted scrutiny by regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration began glyphosate residue testing in a small number of foods earlier this year after the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. The “special assignment,” as the FDA refers to the testing project, is the first time the FDA has ever looked for glyphosate residues in food, though it annually tests foods for numerous other pesticides.

Research by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem and John Vargo, a chemist at the University of Iowa, shows that residues of glyphosate - the chief ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide - have been detected at 653 parts per billion, more than 10 times the limit of 50 ppb allowed in the European Union. Other samples tested detected glyphosate residues in honey samples at levels from the low 20s ppb to 123 parts per billion ppb. Some samples had none or only trace amounts below levels of quantification. Previous reports had disclosed glyphosate residues in honey detected as high as 107 ppb. The collaborative work was part of an effort within FDA to establish and validate testing methodology for glyphosate residues.

“According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment,” Chamkasem and Vargo stated in their laboratory bulletin.

Because there is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States, any amount could technically be considered a violation, according to statements made in FDA internal emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The Environmental Protection Agency may soon move to set a tolerance, however. The agency has set tolerance levels for glyphosate residues in many foods the EPA expects might contain residues of the weed killer. When residue levels are detected above the tolerance levels, enforcement action can be taken against the food producer.

“EPA is evaluating the necessity of establishing tolerances for inadvertent residues of pesticides in honey,” the agency said in a statement. The EPA also said there was no reason for consumers to be concerned about the residue in honey. “EPA has examined the glyphosate residue levels found in honey and has determined that glyphosate residues at those levels do not raise a concern for consumers,” the agency said.

Despite the reassurances, at least two lawsuits have been filed over the issue. The Organic Consumers Association and the Beyond Pesticides nonprofit group filed suit Nov. 1 against the Sioux Honey Association Cooperative, a large Iowa-based group of bee keepers who produce the nationally known brand Sue Bee Honey. Sue Bee bills itself as “America’s Honey,” but the lawsuit alleges that the labeling and advertising of Sue Bee products as “Pure,” “100% Pure,” “Natural,” and “All-natural” is “false, misleading, and deceptive.” Some of the glyphosate residues detected in the FDA tests were found in the Sue Bee brand, according to the FDA documents obtained through FOIA requests.

The claims are similar to another lawsuit, which seeks class action status, that was filed against Sioux Honey Association in late September in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Quaker Oats was sued earlier this year on a similar claim regarding glyphosate residues. The FDA has also found glyphosate residues in oatmeal, including several types of infant oat cereal.

Considering corn is a key crop in Iowa, and most of the U.S. corn crop is genetically modified to tolerate being sprayed directly with glyphosate, it is not necessarily surprising that glyphosate residues are showing up in honey in Iowa and other farm states. Honey bees naturally migrate from field to field and plant to plant, so can become contaminated by the pesticide easily and then transfer pesticide residues to their honey, according to bee industry leaders.

“It’s a chemical intrusion, a chemical trespass into our product,” said Darren Cox, president of the American Honey Producers Association. “We have really no way of controlling it. I don’t see an area for us to put our bees. We can’t put them in the middle of the desert. They need to be able to forage in ag areas. There are no ag areas free of this product.”

Sioux Honey Association President David Allibone said no one from the FDA has communicated with his group about the chemical residues found in honey, and he said he could not discuss the issue further because of the litigation.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday acknowledges the difficulties beekeepers face. They “are often the victims of, and have little recourse against, contamination of their hives caused by pesticide applications in the fields where bees forage,” the lawsuit states.

The glyphosate residues showing up in food are surprising and worrisome, according to dietitian Mitzi Dulan, a nationally known nutrition and wellness expert.

“I think more testing should be done so that we are armed with the knowledge and then we can decide what we want to put into our bodies,” Dulan said. “I do believe in minimizing pesticide exposures whenever possible.”

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, said regulators need to do more to address the issue.

“Until U.S. regulatory agencies prohibit Monsanto and other manufacturers of glyphosate from selling pesticides that end up in the food supply, we need to protect consumers by demanding truth and transparency in labeling,” Feldman said.

A Look Into the Cell: There's a Lot More to Honey Storage Than You Thought

PlosOne     By Michael Eyer, Peter Neumann, Vincent Dietemann     August 28, 2016

Abstract

Honey bees, Apis species, obtain carbohydrates from nectar and honeydew. These resources are ripened into honey in wax cells that are capped for long-term storage. These stores are used to overcome dearth periods when foraging is not possible. Despite the economic and ecological importance of honey, little is known about the processes of its production by workers. Here, we monitored the usage of storage cells and the ripening process of honey in free-flying Amelliferacolonies. We provided the colonies with solutions of different sugar concentrations to reflect the natural influx of nectar with varying quality. Since the amount of carbohydrates in a solution affects its density, we used computer tomography to measure the sugar concentration of cell content over time. The data show the occurrence of two cohorts of cells with different provisioning and ripening dynamics. The relocation of the content of many cells before final storage was part of the ripening process, because sugar concentration of the content removed was lower than that of content deposited. The results confirm the mixing of solutions of different concentrations in cells and show that honey is an inhomogeneous matrix. The last stage of ripening occurred when cell capping had already started, indicating a race against water absorption. The storage and ripening processes as well as resource use were context dependent because their dynamics changed with sugar concentration of the food. Our results support hypotheses regarding honey production proposed in earlier studies and provide new insights into the mechanisms involved.

For the rest of this Plos One article, click HERE

Honey's Not GMO!

BEE CULTURE    By Michelle Poulk   August 23, 2016

Pure natural honey is, by definition, a non-GMO food.  It’s that simple.


This message is supported by the American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Packer & Dealers Association, Sioux Honey Association and the Western States Packers & Dealers Association.  As a collective group, these organizations represent approximately 95% of the entire United States Honey Industry.

Today’s consumers rely on many sources for information on their diet and food choices. Perhaps the most frequently consulted, but least reliable, source is the internet – where everyone can be an ‘expert’ on their chosen subject.  Gluten-free, raw, local, vegetarian and non-GMO are currently among the food topics most often discussed.

Regarding a non-GMO diet, some of the main questions being asked of the honey industry are:

“Is honey free of GMOs?”

Answer: The FDA discourages the use of the term “GMO Free” because all food items may contain trace amounts of GMOs. The European Union, Australia and other countries have established thresholds for their GMO labeling laws. The regulations require all food items which contain more than 0.9% GMOs to declare GMO contents on the labels. Honey is not required to be identified or labeled as a non-GMO food because GMO’s in honey never exceed this threshold. Honey, as most other foods, may not be completely GMO free, but it is a non-GMO food according to the standards established by the European Union, Australia and other countries.

“I am on a non-GMO diet. Can I eat honey?” 

Answer: Pure honey can be introduced into a non-GMO diet and not only will you maintain your personal nutritional choices, but you will receive all the wonderful benefits honey has to offer.

“If honey is not Certified as non-GMO, does that mean it may contain GMOs?

Answer: Although some interest groups and organizations appear to complicate the issue, the simple truth is this: honey qualifies as a non-GMO food.  It does not require any type of certification in order to be classified as a non-GMO food item.  Some companies choose to have their honey certified as “non-GMO” by independent organizations, but in terms of GMO content, honey certified as non-GMO is not superior to any other non-certified pure honey.

“Can trace GMOs be eliminated from honey by monitoring bee forage areas?”

Answer:  It is not realistically possible to monitor all honey bee forage areas, or to create a GMO-free forage zone. Even if a GMO-free zone were to be established, bees can travel great distances, and neighboring bees could enter the GMO-free zone and distribute pollen containing GMOs onto non-GMO crops.

To better understand the basics of GMOs, here are the FDA definitions on the subject:

“Genetic modification” is defined as the alteration of the genotype of a plant using any technique, new or traditional. “Modification“ refers to the alteration in the composition of food that results from adding, deleting, or changing hereditary traits, irrespective of the method.

This definition is provided by an independent certification organization:

“GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”

So how are these definitions applicable to Honey?

Honey is a food produced by bees from the nectar of plants.  Honey is not a plant and there are no known species of genetically engineered (GE) honey bees.  The definitions support honey’s established status as a non-GMO food item.

Here are just a few of the facts about honey as a non-GMO food:

No genetically modified honey bees exist

Honey is made by bees from the nectar of plants

Honey is not a food that has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory

The amount of pollen in honey ranges from about 0.1% to 0.4%

On average, pollen in honey contains about 0.2% protein.  GMO markers may be found only in the protein

Any trace of GMO’s in honey, therefore, will fall far below the 0.9% threshold established by countries around the world as requiring GMO labeling

In the US, there are no current national GMO labeling requirements.  Moreover, the state of Vermont enacted legislation in 2016, which clearly excludes foods from any GMO labeling requirement when the food is “consisting of or derived entirely from an animal that is itself not produced with genetic engineering, regardless of whether the animal has been fed or injected with any food, drug, or other substance produced with genetic engineering”.

Honey bees, beekeepers and the honey industry are direct contributors to the success of American and world agriculture.  In today’s world, the honey industry faces many problems such as hive loss, drought, colony collapse and shrinking forage areas.  Fortunately, honey’s position as a pure and natural food is unchallenged.

Produced by bees from the nectar of plants, honey is a non-GMO food, the purest of nature’s sweets.

References: 

http://www.honey.com/faq/

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm059098.htm

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140110IPR32407/html/Parliament-clarifies-labelling-rules-for-honey-if-contaminated-by-GM-pollen

http://www.honey.com/images/uploads/general/Australian_2004_Canola_pollen_study.pdf

http://www.ago.vermont.gov/assets/files/PressReleases/Consumer/Final%20Rule%20CP%20121.pdf

http://www.beeculture.com/honeys-not-gmo/


Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #6: Honey Extracting and More About Bees

Next Beekeeping Class 101 is Sunday, August 21, 2016, 9AM-Noon at Bill's Bees Bee Yard. BEE SUITS REQUIRED. We may do some honey extracting during this class. If you have honey frames to extract, let Bill Lewis know in advance and we will arrange to extract YOUR HONEY as part of our bee class. Send Bill an email at billsbees@wildblue.net or call 818-312-1691 to get on the bee class extracting schedule. We can provide a bucket for extracted honey or bring your own. Look forward to seeing you. For more info on our Beekeeping Class 101 go to: /beekeeping-classes-losangeles

The Valley Hive Celebrates National Honeybee Day

The Valley Hive - 1st Honey Tasting and Recipe Contest in Celebration of National Honeybee Day.

When: Saturday, August 20th 4-7pm  

Where: The West End Tavern
21356 Devonshire Street
Chatsworth, CA 



Our friends at The West End Tavern in Chatsworth have generously offered their location for this event. Beatrice, the bartender extraordinaire, will be on hand to make her amazing Honey Cocktail creations. 

WHAT: Beekeepers from the Los Angeles area will have an opportunity to showcase their Backyard Honey. Each entry will be judged by our panel of Honey Experts from all over Southern California. After a winner is chosen, the honey will be available for public tasting.

 Why: It’s National Honeybee Day and that’s something to celebrate!

Guidelines to Enter: Is your honey the best in town? Do you have a favorite honey recipe? Entering our contest couldn’t be easier!!

1. Fill out the form

2. We need two 1 pound jars of your honey: one in an unmarked jar for the contest; the other jar should be labeled, and will be sold at the event. All proceeds will be donated to a charity dedicated to helping to Save the Buzz!  

3. Bring your honey to The Valley Hive or bring it to The West End Tavern by 3:30pm on August 20th. Be sure to fill out the form above so that we know to include your honey in the competition!

4. If you are entering a honey recipe, simply let us know what you are making and bring it to The West End Tavern by 3:30pm on August 20th.

 The Valley Hive Shipping Address is: 9633 Baden Avenue, Chatsworth, California 91311

The Valley Hive
The Valley Hive Event on Website
The Valley Hive Event on Facebook

  

 

Don't Take Honeybees For Granted!

Chatham Daily News    By Kim Cooper    June 29, 2016

You may feel that the work you do is sometimes taken for granted, but the work of the honeybee is really taken for granted.

We all know honeybees gather nectar to produce honey, but they perform another vital function — pollination of agricultural crops, home gardens, and orchards.

As bees travel in search of nectar, they transfer pollen from plant to plant. This fertilizes the plants and enables them to bear fruit.

Approximately 30% of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and the honeybee is responsible for 80% of this pollination. That is amazing!

Bees collect pollen and nectar. Pollen is a very high-protein food for bees. Plants give up some pollen in exchange for the bees' services in transferring pollen from other plants. Nectar is sucked up through the bee’s proboscis, mixed with enzymes in the stomach, and carried back to the hive, where it is stored in wax cells and evaporated into honey.

Some bees tend to stay with a specific kind of flower. For example, a honeybee that visits an apple blossom on its first flight, will usually visit only apple blossoms until there are no more, and then they would change to another flower.

Did you know the honeybee is the only insect in the world that makes food for humans?

So, if you happen to see honeybees during a summer outing, don’t be so hard on them. They are not out to get you. Their stinger is simply a defense mechanism. Their job is to get nectar and spread pollen. They are just doing their job.

We do have a number of local honey operations where you can purchase honey products. They are: Camden Meadows in Dresden (519-683-2033); Mike Dodok Apiaries in Chatham (519-351-8338); and Shiloh Homestead in Muirkirk (519-678-3747). You can also purchase locally grown honey at many of our farm markets and stores.

Why buy local honey? Some say local honey will cure your seasonal allergies, and others say it's just plain good. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or support local agriculture, buying honey that's made by bees in your own area is a good thing to do.

But there's another reason you should purchase locally made honey — your own safety.

International honey launderers sometimes ship contaminated honey from China to the U.S., using intermediaries to falsify shipping labels and documents. The honey you purchase in your grocery chain might be labeled as a product of Australia, Thailand, or India, but there's a good chance it came from China. Barrels of honey travel from China to one of several other countries, where they are relabeled and reshipped to North America to be distributed by packing companies unaware of the scheme.

That’s even more reason to support our bee sector by buying local honey, which is delicious and good for you.

Think about this – The Lord is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in times of trouble.

Just some bee-eautiful food for thought.

Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com

http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/2016/06/29/dont-take-honeybees-for-granted