Honey is a miraculous food. Properly stored, it can last for ever. Jars of the stuff, thousands of years old and still edible, have been found in the tombs of the Pharoahs and in the detritus of the Roman Empire. And one thing that honey has always contained is pollen, because foraging bees bring it back to the hive. It has never crossed the mind of beekeepers to list pollen as an ingredient in honey because, as one apiarist pointed out, it is “like saying peanuts contain nuts”. But under a ruling of the European Court of Justice, the possibility that some honey might contain pollen from genetically modified crops means that products will, for the first time, have to carry a list of ingredients. Beekeepers will also have to carry out

tests to show that their honey does not contain unauthorised GM pollen, a process that is expensive and may put those operating at the margins of profitability out of business.

Can we leave yet?

18 thoughts on “Oh joy”

  1. “…because, as one apiarist pointed out, it is “like saying peanuts contain nuts”. “

    I guess that apiarist hasn’t flown recently – all packets of airline peanuts now contain just such a warning.

    Thanks to the same bonkers rules, imposed as a result of ambulance-chasing shysters and hysterical H&S ninnies.

  2. Interestingly though, peanuts very rarely contain nuts – being a species of bean.
    Wonder if one could sue the airline under the Trades Descriptions Act for failing to deliver nuts as promised?

  3. “Honey is a miraculous food. Properly stored, it can last for ever.”

    It would certainly get the opportunity to last forever in my fridge.

  4. Bloke in Spain, “May contain nuts” is warning of potential contamination by nuts, not a promise of what the contents of the packet is.

    If the packet was packed in a plant that dealt with nuts as well as peanuts, then it could indeed be the case that your peanuts might contain nuts.

  5. Philip Scott Thomas

    Which other varieties of “nuts” are not really nuts?

    FWIW, Brazil nuts are technically seeds, rather than nuts.

  6. As the euro slides down the pan of history, closely followed, (it is to be hoped), by the EU itself, I find that sticking Schaden in front of the Freude in the “Ode an die Freude”, helps comfort me as I watch my own fortunes sink with those of the rest of the world.

    As in:

    Schaden Freude!!11!!
    Schadenfreude, schadenfreude,
    Schadenfreude, schadenfreude.

    etc., etc.

  7. It’s a stupid ruling, but even without the EU we’d still want common standards for product labelling. So we’d choose to set up an international food labelling body, and an appeals court. We could easily end up with the same ruling even without the EU.

    There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit in the EU which should be plucked, pulped, and fermented. The CAP is the most obvious target. Many other parts of the EU can remain.

  8. A quick fact check. Although the honey produced by bees invariably contains pollen, much of the honey sold in supermarkets and at such outlets as MacDonalds and KFC doesn’t. That’s because it’s been deliberately removed by ultra-filtration.

    There are a number of reasons for ultra-filtration and none of them are good. For those of you with a taste for the facetious, it’s called honey-laundering.

    The presence of pollen is an important indicator that the honey you’re buying is real honey, of verifiable provenance, unadulterated by cheaper sweeteners, and is uncontaminated by possibly illegal and potentially harmful animal antibiotics.

    So this is far from being a “nuts contain nuts” controversy, or a “bonkers rule”. On the contrary, listing the presence of pollen or not on honey jars is a valuable protection for both consumers and producers.

    GM is a different issue.

  9. The thing is, CR, none of these idiots care about REAL detail, only spazcockery, hmmm?

    Worstall couldn’t give a toss about any of it, it just merely wants to pretend how real life is.

    It went on about jam the other month. Quite clearly a serious, sirrsly, important thinker de nos jours.

    What!? Straight bananas!

  10. dearieme:

    I don’t think coconuts are nuts. (on the other hand, I’ve always suspected that astronauts are nuts).

  11. My father was a chemist with the U.S. Dept. of Ag back in the ’30s. I remember him explaining that honey was often counterfeited by treating sugar with acid (hydochloric, I think).

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