Sun, Jun 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Honey yield falls 70% in Tainan

By Yang Chin-cheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Honey production in Tainan this year has fallen by 70% percent from last year’s levels, causing a 20 percent increase in prices, the city’s agricultural bureau reported yesterday.

At the same time, a citywide quality probe conducted on Friday found residual pesticides and antibiotics in some products — the first time in 13 years that pesticide was found in the city’s honey, the bureau said.

The bureau invited experts from the Council of Agriculture’s Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, National Ilan University and National Chiayi University to serve as judges on a quality panel.

The panel handed out awards based on the color, smell and taste of the honey. The panel also looked at the amount of hydroxymethylfurfural in the honey and how active the amylase was.

One product was discovered to contain residual pesticides, while another contained traces of antibiotics, the bureau said, adding that they suspected this was caused by pesticide on trees.

However, the farmer whose products showed residual antibiotics said that he had not used antibiotics on his bees and experts suspected the product might have been contaminated by other sources during processing.

City officials and bee farmers were all surprised at the discovery of the residues, bureau Director Chiu Chi-fang (邱季芳) said, adding that the bureau had temporarily prohibited the two farmers from selling their products until further tests were performed.

The two products with residues were one-off occurrences and consumers should rest assured that Tainan only produces quality honey, he said.

Meanwhile, the weather has delayed flowering of longan fruit and litchis, the two main sources of honey in the region, according to the bureau, adding that the honey harvest coincided with the rainy season, reducing the amount of nectar collected.

The bee population has also been affected by pesticides use in the region, the bureau said.

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