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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,587

    Default GMO Sourced Honey

    I had a question from The Food Guys Show on KUFM, Montana Public Radio, 89.1FM, Missoula, Montana. Co-Host Jon wrote me:

    "Mark: A listener to our Food Guys show on KUFM writes us that her usual honey supplier has quit, saying that she couldn't keep her hives from contamination from bees feeding on GMO rape in the Flathead Valley (grown for the canola market) and the honey in the hives was crystallizing. I wonder if you have any knowledge about that?"

    My first thoughts were to address the idea of "contamination". But, then after reading the e-mail again and rewriting it here on beesource it seemed to me that Jon's listener was asking about the crystallization of the honey in the comb making it so her supplier could not provide her honey anymore.

    It is my understanding that Canola (rape seed) Honey will crystallize in the comb if the beekeeper does not get the supers off and extracted soon after the bees finish capping the combs. That is correct, isn't it? You guys who produce canola honey?

    What I am also wondering is what would there be in the nectar of a GMO plant which itself would be modified? Would a sample of nectar from a nonGMO plant and a sample of nectar from a GMO plant be different in any way? And therefore the Honey?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: GMO Sourced Honey

    I do not know what causes canola honey to crystalize quite quickly. Once extracted mine was crystalized within two weeks in glass jars. Canola was developed from rapeseed and it became a commercial crop in Alberta back in the 1960s. It was not GMO in those days and rapeseed honey was known to crystalize fairly quickly back then as it does today.

    Just doing some research on history of rapeseed in Canada, and rapeseed growing in Canada was started back in about 1943 and the oil was used for lubricants in steam engines of WWII marine vessels.

    So back too crystalizing, this leads me to believe that it is more so the fructose-glucose ratio that is causing the early on set of crystallization and nothing to do with GMO.

    I was pulling frames every week and inserting extracted comb to keep ahead of my concern for swarming, but understand larger producers pull canola honey every two to three weeks to avoid crystallization in the frames. Producers also want to get the canola honey off the hives and want a fall flow and feed syrup so as to avoid wintering bees on canola honey which is likely crystalized.

    I have a test jar of canola honey that I heated to 140F on Sept 9 and it is perfectly liquid yet. I know this is a higher temp than many recommend on BS. I suspect there is little foreign particles in it from GMO pollen, as it should of re-crystalized by now.
    Last edited by mgolden; 12-15-2013 at 11:39 AM.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Kalispell, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: GMO Sourced Honey

    i'm from the flathead valley and i incidentally live right next to a large canola farm where they have grown canola the last 2-3 years so this seems to be a concern for me as well, especially because it seems to flower in the mid to late months which is too bad because they used to grow a lot of mint around here, i bet the bees would be all over that.

    i'm waiting until next season to get a hive going though but it seems i will need to avoid this problem..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: GMO Sourced Honey

    I know a beekeeper that has bees on a canola farm and he says that even if he extracts honey as soon as it is capped it will still crystallize within two weeks, just like mgolden said.
    As far as the GMO nectar is concerned, that's a bunch of bologna. Not a bit of difference, at least as far as honey quality is concerned. There may be "organic" guidelines about it though. Thing is, if crops were not genetically modified, we would all still be hunters and gatherers today. You can thank Gregor Mendel and his work with pea plants and fruit flies for that. Honeybees themselves are also another example of GMO. They have been kept, bred, and been developed for certain traits since the beginning of civilization. You and I are also an example of a GMO. Otherwise, we would all be identical copies of one another;clones. Thanks to natural genetic drift, that does not happen. Therefore, GMOs also occur naturally. GMO traits aren't what is bad, it is the idea of large companies copyrighting the genetic makeup that is the real issue at hand. I will stop here and save everyone from one of my long-winded rants. My bad.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: GMO Sourced Honey

    all I can say about GMO is it's not natural. Hybrid vs GMO there is a difference. I know that we (wife and family of 4) ate GMO corn and it tore us all up!!! (two of my kids still have a rash from it 2 weeks later) Organic can still be GMO. Organic just means that the chemicals aren't sprayed or otherwise applied. GMO grows the pesticides in them. The worm that eats the corn will die due to this "modification" of the corn. My understanding is that the pesticides destroy the worm's digestive track. What does this mean for us, let alone our bees? I would love to see the research (not from Monsanto or others similar) stating that the pollen and nectar is the same. I am by no means an expert, but I do know we can't eat the stuff and it's banned in other countries for a reason. Talon do you have proof that the nectar is the same? Not just that it acts the same or similar, but that it is the same?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: GMO Sourced Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    all I can say about GMO is it's not natural. Hybrid vs GMO there is a difference. I know that we (wife and family of 4) ate GMO corn and it tore us all up!!! (two of my kids still have a rash from it 2 weeks later) Organic can still be GMO. Organic just means that the chemicals aren't sprayed or otherwise applied. GMO grows the pesticides in them. The worm that eats the corn will die due to this "modification" of the corn. My understanding is that the pesticides destroy the worm's digestive track. What does this mean for us, let alone our bees? I would love to see the research (not from Monsanto or others similar) stating that the pollen and nectar is the same. I am by no means an expert, but I do know we can't eat the stuff and it's banned in other countries for a reason. Talon do you have proof that the nectar is the same? Not just that it acts the same or similar, but that it is the same?
    GMO is simply an acronym for "genetically modified organism" with emphasis on the genetic portion. GMO does not necessarily mean that pesticides are involved. Pesticides are not genetic. Gene splicing to produce a particular phenotype (ie larger ears of corn which equates to more bushels per acre) however, is considered GMO. A hybrid is a GMO by definition. It has been genetically modified by either natural or an natural means. Seeds with pesticide/herbicide resistant coating are considered pesticide/herbicide ready. Check out roundup-ready crops and similar articles online. The seed is coated with a blocker agent, protecting it against the herbicide, but it is not expressed in the following generations of crop plants. It protects the plant, but not the weeds.Thus, it is not truly genetically modified. You are correct with the scenario of the worm dying. The chemical will be present throughout the entirety of the plant; roots, stalk, and head. Any targeted insect that attempts to consume any part of the plant may very well die. This is why neonicotinoids are such a big issue. It is a toxin that targets practically every invertebrate pest without a whole lot of target specificity, which also means it can affect pollinators that are beneficial. This is still being investigated to my understanding. This is where you also might have a point as to how pesticides might be affecting us. My points here are that all hybridization is genetic modification, but not all genetic modification involves pesticides, some pesticides are more target specific than others, and some pesticide residues have more far reaching effects than others. Also, I'm not touting how GMO technology is being used, or should I say abused? As far as proof, I do not have time to go over the genetics material I learned in school. If you are truly interested though, I suggest you study the basics of Mendelian Genetics and go over label information for roundup ready crops and glyphosate resistant pests. Do your own research instead of taking my word for it, and then formulate your own opinion.You will find enough info to stack from floor to ceiling. I hope this reply doesn't come across as stand-offish. I sure don't mean for it to be, but I do not know of a better way to put it. Best wishes.
    Last edited by TalonRedding; 12-15-2013 at 09:54 PM.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

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