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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,332

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    Have to agree with Dean here. We sample our honey to buyers by sampling about every 15th drum. The drums are filled from a holding tank which holds about 25 drums. I then blend four of those samples into a single sample which I feel accurately represents the average for a truck load of honey. Sure, there is a risk in doing so but I have confidence in what we produce so I just don't worry about it.
    Interestingly enough we got a positive (though quite low) Amitraz reading this fall. I called the packer and asked him if he could double check on that sample as I couldn't imagine how that could be possible. He let me know a few days later that, yes, there had been a mistake and that a lab tech had mislabeled a sample taken from another producer. I haven't had a positive reading for a miticide for 7 years and counting and we haven't had a positive antibiotic reading since discontinuing tylosin use 5 years ago.
    Heres my analogy. If you have a room full of people in which only one person has a contagious disease and you take a specimen from each of these people and combine them. Your results will confirm that a contagious disease is present in the room. If, however, you take only a random sampling you may well miss the infected person and get only readings showing no disease.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,805

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    Jim, how do you keep barrels of differing color honey separate? Or do you only make white honey? Does you packer sample every barrel themselves for color?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,332

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Jim, how do you keep barrels of differing color honey separate? Or do you only make white honey? Does you packer sample every barrel themselves for color?
    We have a second smaller tank if we run into a significant amount honey that is distinctly darker than the bulk of the honey we are running. It needs to be quite a bit, though, as the whole system contains a lot of honey and a lot of blending action with a 120 frame auto load draining into a floor sump holding around 1,000 pounds then into a separator which is holding several hundred more pounds. Some years you use the second tank a lot and some years you dont. What you really dread with a system like that is a few hundred pounds of really dark honey which (as you well know) can really screw up a large lot of nice white honey.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,805

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    Here in NY we can have quite a range from early season honey to late season honey, differences in color and taste depending on the crop. Most of the folks I know of have tanks quite a bit smaller than Jims. Five or six barrels in size from two extractors holding 60 frames at a time. So, there can be some variation in color from one end of the season to another and therefore differences in price.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,605

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    If you have a room full of people in which only one person has a contagious disease and you take a specimen from each of these people and combine them. Your results will confirm that a contagious disease is present in the room. If, however, you take only a random sampling you may well miss the infected person and get only readings showing no disease.
    ...but you are missing something.
    When testing honey there are two numbers to consider...the LOD (limit of detection...how much has to be present to reliably detect it) and a level that is either illegal, dangerous, or undesirable.

    If you have a barrel with 3x the LOD of contamination and pool the sample with 9 barrels that are not contaminated, your test will never show you the one barrel with 3x the LOD.

    Pooling samples is a good way to hide a 'bad barrel' in a load (Jim, I'm not implying that you are hiding or trying to hide anything).

    It is like being in a class where all the students get the same grade...an average of all the earned grades. How do you tell the good students from the bad students? How do you know if all the students are working at an 'average' level or if some are exceptional and some are struggling? Now decide to hire one of these students...don't you wish you knew what grade that particular student earned?

    Again, if the pooled samples are going to be blended before bottling this is less of an issue.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    That is an excellent point. The more research that I have done leads me to believe most bee keepers do not do much testing other than perhaps for moisture content. I have located a lab and they do numerous tests and I have asked if they can recommend testing for the most serious problems involving pesticides, antibiotics and other serious contaminants. I also asked them if they have developed or if there are any government standards for which contaminants are within an acceptable range. Given the many sources of honey it is just a matter of time before this subject becomes an issue affecting all bee keepers, large and small. I am certain the business minded companies do labs tests as I believe they should. I will advise on the pricing.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,805

    Default Re: Lab Testing of Honey

    If you would take the time to contact large packers like Sioux Bee or Gamber Honey Company you might find out what they test for. It would be interesting to know. Beyond moisture content, adulteration w/ HFCS, and maybe antibiotics I don't know that testing for pesticides is done, other than maybe those used by beekeepers. Does anyone know what Gamber and Sioux Bee test for?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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