EU ruling could sting UK honey producers

Bee whisperer Bryan Pilbeam from Aylesbury
Bee whisperer Bryan Pilbeam from Aylesbury
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A BUCKS beekeeper fears British honey producers will be forced out of business by a new EU ruling.

Bryan Pilbeam, who refers to himself as Aylesbury’s bee whisperer, says the new law stating jars of honey must be clearly marked with the words ‘contains pollen’ will ruin beekeepers if it is enforced.

Mr Pilbeam said: “It is crazy, like writing ‘contains nuts’ on a packet of peanuts.”

Pollen has been deemed an additive by the European Court, instead of an integral part of honey, so Mr Pilbeam says beekeepers will have to relabel their produce and face expensive safety tests.

“Not only that, it could also frighten off buyers who think that pollen is harmful, whereas it has recently been thought that eating pollen in a natural form within the honey is beneficial to the immune system,” said Mr Pilbeam.

The change came about after an amateur German beekeeper found traces of genetically-modified pollen in his honey and sued the Bavarian government. Now, any honey with more than 0.9 per cent GM pollen is liable for tests.

Mr Pilbeam, 51, who recently launched the www.bigblittleb.co.uk website, said if producers have to pay for safety tests with batches of honey it will no longer be worthwhile.

He fears the already-endangered honey bee will hit crisis point as a result. Readers can contact Mr Pilbeam by email at bryan@bigblittleb.co.uk.