An Inspector Calls –from Trading Standards
When Trading Standards officers visited our Farmers Market stall last September, they bought two jars of honey. Had we filled our jars correctly? Is our labeling all right? On these points, we were reassured there and then, and were given a check list covering batch numbers, contact addresses, and of course the controversial best before dates!
Straightforward messages to other beekeepers, so far then: Give good measure, and don’t be too close to the limit when filling your jars; Comply with all the regulations on labeling and batch numbers, even if you do not feel they are all sensible or necessary;
Show your name and address- be proud to sell good Cheshire Honey.
Two months later, we had a phone call with the results of the Pollen Analysis, which is apparently sent away to Germany to be done there. Some of the interpretation is blunt, to say the least. For example, sample 1 contains pollen ”characteristic of Western European polyfloral honeys”. Hardly Rocket Science, this; they can’t even confirm the honey is English, never mind from Cheshire. However, read more, about Sample 2:”the proportion of Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) was relatively high, so the description ’Cheshire Honey‘ is questionable”.
Imagine our mixed feelings over this. Pleased, that they check and maintain standards, keeping our produce valued and respected. Pleased too, to have new information on our honey and the pollen in it. But of course we were concerned that doubts have been cast on our produce. To make this worse, then we read, in the last “Cheshire Beekeeper” of scams and frauds where foreign honey has been labeled as British. Not in Cheshire of course, but disreputable in the extreme.
We wrote at length to Trading Standards, inviting them to visit us and see the hives here. We are not questioning the analysis, just the interpretation that could be put on it! We never buy in any foreign honey or anyone else’s honey, or feed it to our bees. We would swear in any court that the honey we sell comes from our hives here. All sorts of alien plants are widespread in most areas, including, no doubt, somewhere, Eucalyptus.
On a bright cold day in January, two Trading Standards Officers arrived. No bees were flying, but they could see the hives and where we produce the honey in the season. We showed them the circles on the large scale map to give an idea of the area over which the bees will forage. We tried to make sure they left knowing more about the vagaries of beekeeping. They left happily reassured, and so were we! However it is annoying that honey is offered for sale in some shops that does not meet the labeling regulations but that Farmers Market sellers are well monitored
The picture on the side of their van shows a householder closing the door on approaches from a disreputable- looking workman. The range of issues Trading Standards look into extends from the percentage of meat in sausages to preventing vulnerable pensioners from being fleeced for garden work or tarmac drives. Puzzles remain over the pollen analysis: our bees are getting Umbellifer pollen –what from? Also Poaceae, the Meadow grasses, wind pollinated species. And of course where oh where have they been getting the Eucalyptus pollen from?
With all the modern technology, the mysteries of the bees and the honey remain as fascinating as ever.
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- What is the Catenary HIve ?
- An Intrusion Into The Private Life of the Queen
- A Cheshire System of Beekeeping
- Artificial Swarming to make Increase
- Re-queening An Aggressive Colony
- Frames and Frame-spacing
- An Early Spring Tonic Part 1
- An Early Spring Tonic Part 2
- Something To Consider - Treating Hives
- Make up Of Honey
- Brainbox Bees
- An Inspector Calls
- The Laws Of Beekeeping
- TBS versus BBS
- Colony Records
- My First Season With Bees
- Integrated Pest Management Workshop
- BBKA Examination System
- Will Your Bees Survive this Winter?
- Anaphylactic Shock - What to do!
- Anaphylactic Shock - A Personal Experience
- Beekeeping Records
- L. L. Langstroth's - BEE-KEEPER'S AXIOMS
- Osmia Rufa
- Beginner's Corner - Out-apiary sites
- Beginner's Corner - Syrup feeders