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Re: [beemonitoring] Honey adulterants

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  • Joe Franke
    Just to clarify: this is not meliponine honey. It is honeybee honey, or that¹s what it¹s being sold as...whatever it is. ... Re: [beemonitoring] Honey
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 5, 2013
      Re: [beemonitoring] Honey adulterants Just to clarify: this is not meliponine honey. It is honeybee honey, or that’s what it’s being sold as...whatever it is.

      On 7/5/13 9:52 AM, "Alicia Basilio" <apis1b@...> wrote:

      Melipondos honey is more moist and liquid than of Apis mellifera honey. Also more acidic, naturally fermented. In some cases, if the harvest technique is not refined, pheromones of bees, which are strong and noticeable in some species, smell honey.
      The methylene glycol is toxic. The propilen glycol was used for a long time to pediatric cough syrups. Its taste is very strong and unpleasant. I do not think that honey is mixed with it.
      One possibility is syrup. The easiest way to see this honey adulteration is to analyze dextrins alien to honey ones in a food science lab.
      You may contac to Patricia Vit en Venezuela, she is expert in melipone honey.

      De: Joe Franke <sapogordoeco@...>
      Para: "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
      Enviado: jueves, 4 de julio de 2013 19:18
      Asunto: [beemonitoring] Honey adulterants
      This issue might be straying a bit from bee monitoring per se, but it’s still within the realm of apiculture and the social issues surrounding beekeeping...so please bear with me.

      As some of you know, I’ve been working on a project in Belize to revive traditional meliponiculture there, and in the course of doing surveys I had the opportunity to buy a great deal of honey to spray around. I found the quality of the honey purchased at local, mostly Chinese-run groceries, to be absolutely horrific. A lot of it was bottled rather crudely, with very homey-looking labels indicating family run honey operations, but I think a lot of this stuff is sold bulk wholesale and bottled on the spot. The stuff looked and tasted odd, being very runny and only vaguely sweet, but I really became concerned after finding that meliponine bees were not attracted to it. There’s been a lot in the news lately about adulterated honey in the world market, mostly mixed with sugar, corn syrup etc. and some vague references to “other substances”. In this case,  I suspect that one of the adulterants was propylene glycol or something like it. The Chinese produce immense amounts of propylene glycol as a food additive (I suppose small amounts are not acutely toxic) and as an aviation de-icer, so I would imagine that it’s relatively cheap.

      Do any of you think that this is a conceivable scenario? Any references to honey adulteration practices, news stories, arrest reports, etc. would be much appreciated, as my experiences in Belize and elsewhere have gotten me interested in a bit of muckraking on the issue.

      Overall, I find it ironic that world demand for honey is at an all time high while honeybee populations are simultaneously in steep decline, which is leading to increased reports of adulterating supply.


    • Cane, Jim
      Joe- if the adulterant is corn syrup, my recollection is that the sugar maltose will be present, which is not found in nectars to any appreciable extent. I
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 5, 2013

        Joe- if the adulterant is corn syrup, my recollection is that the sugar maltose will be present, which is not found in nectars to any appreciable extent.    I had worked with sugar chemistry some for one project on solitary bee provisions, but Gillian Eggleston with USDA-ARS in Louisiana  was my masterful guide into the sample prep and chromatography, as there are a number of pitfalls.  Perhaps she could be of help if you wish to pursue it.  Here is an article about her:






        James H. Cane

        USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit

        Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA

        tel: 435-797-3879   FAX: 435-797-0461

        email: Jim.Cane@... 

        web page: www.ars.usda.gov/npa/beelab

        publications: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/piru/

        Gardening for Bees: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/plants-pollinators09.pdf


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