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Honey problem isolated case

3 April 2008

Honey problem isolated case, says Bee Products Standards Council

Honey lovers throughout the world should have no concerns about devouring their favourite New Zealand condiment.

That’s the message from the Bee Products Standards Council, which says the recent spate of illnesses after people ate poisoned honey is highly regrettable, but it was an extremely rare occurrence.

“This particular case appears to have been limited to honey produced by one local supplier,” said Council Chairman, Dr Jim Edwards.

“The last recorded case of poisoning by tutin-affected honey in New Zealand was in 1991.That highlights just how rare this kind of incident is, and it demonstrates just how conscious the beekeeping and honey industry is of the need to maintain domestic and international food safety standards.”

Dr Edwards says the industry has rigorous and long standing procedures in place to ensure tutin-affected honey is not collected and sold.

“The industry has invested heavily in education and performance management around this issue, and beekeepers are well aware of best practice.

“It’s unfortunate that this particular supplier’s honey was affected and we are very concerned for those people who ate this product.

“Together with the Food Safety Authority, we are still investigating how this incident occurred, and what, if any, quality assurance changes we need to put in place.

“But, this has to be put in perspective – there are more than 342,000 registered hives in the country producing almost 10,000 tonnes of honey each year.

“This was an isolated, one-off case that hasn’t affected the rest of New Zealand’s many honey suppliers.”

ENDS

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