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Author Topic: New Ramblings for 2011  (Read 7064 times)
skatesailor
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« Reply #60 on: January 06, 2011, 07:10:02 PM »


 

>Actually, the reason behind the name change is politically correct, if you
will.  The gummit does not support hobbies, whereas "small scale" beekeepers
are more apt to get a legislative ear.<

It's probably more about the gov not TAXING hobbies but they do tax small scale ops. I just finished filling out my ag census and bees were included.
Interesting rant Bjorn.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #61 on: January 07, 2011, 06:35:14 AM »


 

>Actually, the reason behind the name change is politically correct, if you
will.  The gummit does not support hobbies, whereas "small scale" beekeepers
are more apt to get a legislative ear.<

It's probably more about the gov not TAXING hobbies but they do tax small scale ops. I just finished filling out my ag census and bees were included.
Interesting rant Bjorn.

Yeah....I could see the gov one day calling a small garden an agriculture enterprise, and being taxed for the tomatoes you get from the backyard garden.

It's always baby steps.....until you just don't realize how far all those little baby steps went until too late.  rolleyes
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T Beek
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« Reply #62 on: January 07, 2011, 07:02:14 AM »

I wouldn't worry about this too much.  Our goverments steady path toward implosion is on course and I believe they'll be way to buzy to bother with gardens. Wink

thomas
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BjornBee
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« Reply #63 on: January 07, 2011, 07:04:59 AM »

I wouldn't worry about this too much. 
thomas

That's exactly what they want you to do.....  Wink
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T Beek
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« Reply #64 on: January 07, 2011, 07:10:37 AM »

please don't mistake my words for being unprepared or unaware. grin

thomas
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deknow
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« Reply #65 on: January 07, 2011, 09:37:11 AM »

Here in the state of New York we lack a definition for "honey". 

well, there are lots of ways to deal with these issues.

1.  there are now more sensitive testing for sugar adulteration (polarmetrics has a FTIR machine that will test down to 2-3% adulteration, and will test for rice syrup).

2.  there are labeling laws, and i can assure you that many selling not so pure honey are buying it in and selling it as their own (often they are unaware of this..they get sold this "honey" because the seller knows it will never get tested).
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When the food is not manufactured by the person whose name appears on the label, a qualifying phrase such as “Manufactured for _________”, “Distributed by ________”, or other expression of facts, shall appear with the name.
....these beekeepers will never want to admit that they are not selling their own honey (this is true for 2 reasons...the customer wants to buy honey from "the beekeeper that produced it", and health regulations are different for packing your own honey and packing purchased honey).

3.  relying on the govt to regulate this is (imho) largely a waste of time.  we deal with these issues by educating the consumer directly.

4.  the biggest problem is how are you going to define honey (from a legal standpoint)?  many states have done this, but they have really created a problem for themselves, as if the standards are applied, virtually no commercial honey would qualify (and very little 'hobbyist' honey either).  ...so the standards are not applied, and nothing changes (see florida's standard for this).

5.  we've tested honey (both our own and honey we purchased from beekeepers and off the shelf) for sugar adulteration.  in one case, a very well respected health food store has now taken the $11/lb honey "from a local organic farm" (99% certain it is bought in from a migratory operation) off the shelf (it was 30% beet sugar), and the producer who's product was 5% adulterated was asked to please do better in the future.

6.  the hardest part of this issue is the common practice of beekeepers buying in honey (either because of a bad season, or that they have more customers than they can serve) and calling it their own.  because this is so common, and because honey sold this way is not likely to be "100% pure", almost every beekeeper is reluctant to "crack down", because this is "how things are done" and virtually everyone has bought in less than pure honey.  who is left to want to change things?

in our experience, beekeepers are keen to disparage "foreign" honey, but not so keen to look too closely at domestic honey, no matter how adulterated it is (no one wants to "hurt the industry" or other beekeepers).

deknow
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Acebird
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« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2011, 10:09:44 AM »

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...the customer wants to buy honey from "the beekeeper that produced it",


Are you kidding me?  The customer wants to buy "honey" for the lowest price.  Have you ever been to a Walmart?  Why do you think everything is produced in China now.  Where the customer is foolish is they don't know what they are buying and what happens to the price structure in the future when you no longer can produce products in your own country.

Without a standard, labeling means nothing.  That is what you have now.  Walmart will be less likely to put products on their shelves that are adulterated because when they get caught it affects their other business.  This is where an association can be effective.  Go into a store and buy a product, test it and blow the whistle.  First the standard, then the labeling, then blow the whistle.

We have the internet at our finger tips people.  Bad news travels fast.
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deknow
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« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2011, 10:55:58 AM »

ok, what "standard of identity" for honey are you proposing?  (please be specific here...if you want "a law", let's hear what you think a good law is).

deknow
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T Beek
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« Reply #68 on: January 07, 2011, 11:03:08 AM »

They built a Wall-Mart a half hour away from here about 6-7 years ago in a town of 1800, been there a few times, they don't sell local honey, just some clear looking liquid with honey on the label and distributed by------------.  

During the rare times when I've had to buy honey I'll buy at the Co-Op with the beekeepers name, address and phone # listed, living about three hours away.  Sure hope they're not doing what deknow was describing.

thomas
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D Coates
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« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2011, 11:20:11 AM »

Are you kidding me?  The customer wants to buy "honey" for the lowest price.

Indeed you are correct.  The bulk of the population does want the lowest price.  You'll loose that battle every day.  Don't even try to keep up unless you've got money you're trying to get rid of.

However, there are customers who are willing to pay more for local honey though.  Those customers really like buying direct from the beekeeper who produced it and will pay more for better quality.  I sell mine for premium prices (went up 20% this year) and I'll still run out before the next harvest.  I lost a few customers but I gained more.  Make sure it's high quality and looks gift worthy (custom labels from Amy's Labels Smiley), put a face to a name and make yourself visible and locally known.  Sell varietal honey and ask what they want when they get refills just to let them know you have it and offer things they can't get elsewhere.  It starts conversations and that create relationships.  I don't even do Farmers markets (not enough time), all of my customers are word of mouth.  It takes time but you can get there.
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deknow
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« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2011, 11:22:20 AM »

first, the "buying in of honey" by beekeepers is ubiquitous....or do you think all the "local beekeepers" have everything figured out so that they sell all their crop yet never run out of honey?  even in a bad year?  even in a good year?

second, if you are a large producer, you know that any large buyer (packer, blender, retail chain) is going to do at least the basic tests on the honey (antibiotics and sugar adulteration).  the sugar adulteration tests test to 10% or 5% (depending on how much you spend for testing), and they don't detect rice sugar (one blender who is using the FTIR technique fond that 30% of the honey they were being offered as "pure" contained rice syrup...some samples up to 50%).

so, if you are a larger producer and have some honey from a pollination contract where the bees were fed heavily and you don't think it will pass the above tests, what do you do?  you sell this to beekeepers to sell as their own....the beekeeper is already lying to the customer ("it's from my bees") _and_ the beekeeper is totally unaware.

the customer thinks that "beekeeper honey" is better than "supermarket honey"...yet the opposite is often the case.  customers buy the "purest" honey they can find, and then find that there is nothing special about it.

there are some beekeepers that only sell their own honey, or are upfront about where it came from.

deknow
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Acebird
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« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2011, 11:25:14 AM »

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just some clear looking liquid with honey on the label and distributed by------------. 


It might be in a bottle that looks like honey but it isn't "honey" at all.

Quote
ok, what "standard of identity" for honey are you proposing?

Do you think I am qualified to write the specification?  I don’t.  I would hope someone of your caliber could write something more meaningful.  There may be a need to qualify different aspects of honey similar to what you have with milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or raw)  At least get something on the books so the Chinese cannot put cornstarch and two drops of honey in a bottle and call it “natural honey” like they are now.
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« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2011, 11:52:30 AM »

Do you think I am qualified to write the specification?  I don’t.  I would hope someone of your caliber could write something more meaningful.

...i know enough about this to know that it's a complicated issue, that if you define honey (as florida has done) as only the ripened nectar collected by the bees (this is a paraphrase...you can read the whole thing below), that virtually no commercial producer's honey would qualify.  many are in favor of such a standard, but it would devistate the industry:
http://www.americanhoneyproducers.org/standards/FL%20Standard%20of%20Identity.pdf
i should also say that we have been contacted by commercial beekeepers (including at least one from New York) about this issue because we are virtually the only beekeepers willing to talk about such things...and note that we have taken actual action.

someone of my "caliber" knows that this is way more complicated than you make it out to be, yet you are insisting that it's so simple.  in order to make any progress in this issue, you need pure honey to offer...simply telling people not to buy "unpure honey" will in most cases mean "don't buy honey" unless you have pure honey to steer them towards.  ...and don't assume that the best meaning hobbyists and sideliners in your club have honey free of adulteration (when the FTIR device was being tested, the solicited samples from the local beekeeping club....what was supposed to be "pure honey" had cane or beet sugar...the manfacturer of the machine didn't know anything about beekeeping, and didn't know that hobbyist beekeepers fed routinely).

Quote
There may be a need to qualify different aspects of honey similar to what you have with milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or raw)  At least get something on the books so the Chinese cannot put cornstarch and two drops of honey in a bottle and call it “natural honey” like they are now.

did you read my posts above?  we have "local" honey that is 30% beet sugar....produced and sold by red blooded americans.  but to point fingers at "the chinese" is the easy way out...it's pretending to care about the quality of the honey.

deknow
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deknow
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« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2011, 11:59:59 AM »

It might be in a bottle that looks like honey but it isn't "honey" at all.

we haven't tested honey from the walmart shelf, but we have spoken to a number of labs that do honey testing routinely.  the consensus is that the larger the retail chain (walmart specifically included), the less likely it will test adulterated.  they have the most to lose, they spend the most on testing, and they have the most purchasing leverage (ie, they can afford to reject a load because they buy so much).  certainly it is overheated, blended, and nothing more than a sweetener....there may even be rice syrup present (because most tests can't definitively test for rice syrup), but i bet it tests better than the "local beekeeper honey" we had tested. 

unless you have had testing done?  have access to test results?   ....or are you just going along with the bandwagon and parroting the tired tirade against chinese products?

deknow
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Acebird
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« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2011, 12:31:18 PM »

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the less likely it will test adulterated.

I worked in the medical industry for 23 years so I am blown away by the term "test adulterated" when you don't have a standard.  You think if we put a label on your heart pills saying it was produced by Bristol Myers at plant xyz that's good enough? huh

Nothing involving regulation is simple.  I never said it was.  But for Gods sake you can't say something "tested adulterated" if you don't have a standard to test to.  That is just nuts.

Maybe what you are arguing about is what the standard should be.  I suggest it should be graduated so the commercial people can meet their standard, the puritans can meet their standards and the local beeks can do what ever they please for those that have faith in what they are doing.  You are never going to eliminate the snake oil salesman on a local basis.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #75 on: January 07, 2011, 12:48:57 PM »

Sorry deknow....something does not add up.

Your suggesting that the big boys are clean due to what they have to lose, and suggest it's the "local honey supply" who are peddling the Chinese stuff. By who? The local beekeepers?

Around here, it's all locally produced. And when a beekeeper needs additional honey, they go to a place such as Dutch Gold honey for a few buckets or barrels. This is one of the largest packers on the east coast. One hour they are kicking out one super markets label, and the next hour it's someone elses. And if your suggesting that the stuff they are kicking out to fill the super market shelves is clean, I would suggest the same for what they sell clubs and individuals.

Not sure where these lowly "local beekeepers" would even get their honey in your neck of the woods, but I could not even begin to know where to buy honey if needed, unless I went to a large packer such as Dutch Gold. I've never heard of anyone hawking good from the back trucks in dark alleys selling to beekeepers.

From what I understand, most of the tainted (fake) honey, never gets placed into a honey bottle. It's used in the food industry. (cereal, etc.) Making the big motive behind much of this whole pure honey crap, an issue with lost revenue with such places as the honey board who gets shorted from their assessed tax, by containers being shipped in with less than a pure product, and not being assessed, by not being pure honey.

I honestly don't think any beekeeper around here is peddling Chinese honey. Unless it's coming from the same packers you say are somewhat clean. It just does not add up.

This is the first time I've heard that the general "local honey" supply is the one as you say "parroting" of tainted honey. I don't buy that for one minute.
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« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2011, 12:59:34 PM »

Here in the state of New York we lack a definition for "honey". 

well, there are lots of ways to deal with these issues.

1.  there are now more sensitive testing for sugar adulteration (polarmetrics has a FTIR machine that will test down to 2-3% adulteration, and will test for rice syrup).

5.  we've tested honey (both our own and honey we purchased from beekeepers and off the shelf) for sugar adulteration.  in one case, a very well respected health food store has now taken the $11/lb honey "from a local organic farm" (99% certain it is bought in from a migratory operation) off the shelf (it was 30% beet sugar), and the producer who's product was 5% adulterated was asked to please do better in the future.

Quote
the less likely it will test adulterated.

I worked in the medical industry for 23 years so I am blown away by the term "test adulterated" when you don't have a standard.  

He was referring to his own standard of testing adulterated with sugar.  Please spend more time reading and less time typing.

In reality we have a tiny group of people pushing for regulation that will affect a lot more.  Somebody will pay, somewhere.  What you end up doing is driving up the price of honey, and then as people forget what it is and no longer use it because they've cut a non-essential from their budget, thereby eliminating a market,  and end up cutting the demand for honey.  The law of unintended consequences will bite, somewhere, somehow.  No association will pass anything like that unless they force a Honey board, then that will open up a whole new can of really ugly worms.

Bjorn, my impression is that the locals tested for beet sugar, not chinese.  This implies to me very sloppy feeding habits, unintentional more than not.

Rick
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deknow
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« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2011, 01:25:10 PM »

I worked in the medical industry for 23 years so I am blown away by the term "test adulterated" when you don't have a standard.  You think if we put a label on your heart pills saying it was produced by Bristol Myers at plant xyz that's good enough? huh

uhhh, honey that contains beet sugar, cane sugar, rice syrup, tapioca syrup, corn syrup (HFCS or just corn syrup) is adulterated.  it contains something other than honey.

Quote
Nothing involving regulation is simple.  I never said it was.  But for Gods sake you can't say something "tested adulterated" if you don't have a standard to test to.  That is just nuts.
this is why i think the regulation angle is a waste of time.  one can (as the NHB has tried to do) define honey as something that hasn't had anything added to it _after_ it is extracted from the comb, which of course doesn't tell us anything about what is in the honey, or even if it sugar syrup stored by the bees.
the public, on the other hand, understands that if honey has beet sugar in it, it is not pure honey.  we know what beet sugar is, we know it isn't a component of honey...so regardless of what is supposed to be in the honey, the beet sugar is an adulterant.

Quote
  I suggest it should be graduated so the commercial people can meet their standard
that's bass ackwards.  that's not a standard, that is an acceptance of the status quo.  "the commercial people" will quickly become the largest packers, importers, and co-ops (as they have the money and influence to guide the legislation), and it will be like "organic" all over again.

Quote
the puritans can meet their standards and the local beeks can do what ever they please for those that have faith in what they are doing.  You are never going to eliminate the snake oil salesman on a local basis.

what you have described is EXACTLY the status quo...except you are missing a critical link.  the "local snakeoil salesman" is also the best of intentioned local beekeeper.

deknow
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« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2011, 01:45:17 PM »

Your suggesting that the big boys are clean due to what they have to lose, and suggest it's the "local honey supply" who are peddling the Chinese stuff. By who? The local beekeepers?
first, there is always a difference between "clean" and "testing clean".  lots of honey adulterated with rice syrup "tests clean".

second, i think it would be unusual to find honey that will (with the standard tests) test more than 5% (or in some cases perhaps 10%) adulterated at large retail chains.

what you posted above is not what i said.  i don't think the local beekeepers are peddling chinese honey, i think they are peddling honey they buy from larger producers, and in many cases, it is an easy way for the larger producers to get rid of subpar honey (as it will never get tested).

Quote
....if your suggesting that the stuff they are kicking out to fill the super market shelves is clean, I would suggest the same for what they sell clubs and individuals.
i can't speak for what happens at dutch gold.  i have tested honey from a beekeeper that bought in honey from a large beekeeper...15 and 20% beet sugar (one sample was from the liquid on top, one from the crystals on the bottom).   ...from an organic farm (which bought honey in from the same beekeeper)...30% beet sugar.  tested honey from the supplier's own label?  came back pure.

Quote
Not sure where these lowly "local beekeepers" would even get their honey in your neck of the woods,
...i'm not sure what is "lowly" about local beekeepers, but there is plenty of supply available (it might be extracted in Massachusetts, but it might not be produced in Massachusetts).  ...also, remember that dutch gold is a packer, not a producer, the honey that dutch gold sells has already been tested and accepted before a beekeeper can buy it from them.

Quote
From what I understand, most of the tainted (fake) honey, never gets placed into a honey bottle. It's used in the food industry. (cereal, etc.) Making the big motive behind much of this whole pure honey crap, an issue with lost revenue with such places as the honey board who gets shorted from their assessed tax, by containers being shipped in with less than a pure product, and not being assessed, by not being pure honey.
this is correct....but not all of the fake honey is chinese, and much of it is ending up in jars at health food stores.

Quote
This is the first time I've heard that the general "local honey" supply is the one as you say "parroting" of tainted honey. I don't buy that for one minute.
as i've said before, we tested a number of samples.  our honey and honey from beekeepers that we know don't feed came back pure.  honey from our bee inspector (who feeds sometimes, but is a very good beekeeper) came back pure.  2 that were supposedly local and from beekeepers were 15-20% beet sugar in one case, and 30% beet sugar in another.  one locally produced honey was 5% (and the producer said, "that sounds about right" when we told him), and the other larger localish brands were clean.

deknow
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« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2011, 01:50:29 PM »

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the public, on the other hand, understands that if honey has beet sugar in it, it is not pure honey.


Who you kidding?  The public (the consumer) has no idea what honey is and what is in it because it hasn't been defined.

Your whole beef is that honey has various sugars in it?  I got blasted because I said I wouldn't feed anything but honey and now you are surprised to find various sugars in honey? huh You got a hard sell on this forum trying to eliminating sugar from honey.  Good luck with that one. 
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