bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hungarian beekeepers buzzing in Brussels

Sixty-five Hungarian beekeepers have been protesting in the centre of Brussels about cheap honey imports from Asia and South America which they claim not to be up to EU standards. Apparently 70% of this year's Hungarian honey production remains unsold.

P├ęter Bross, president of the Association of Hungarian Beekeepers estimated that Hungarian honey export will drop to half because of the competition.

While honey producers were paid Ft900 ($4,92) per kilo last year, this year they only get Ft500 ($2,73), which, they say, does not cover their expenses. Moreover, the image of Hungarian honey is being lowered by the cheap quality of the mixed honey.

Western European traders use Hungarian acacia honey, said to be among the highest quality in Europe, to upgrade the cheap Chinese imports, but does not indicate the ratios on labelling.

The association is keen on modifying the regulations so that the cheaper quality honey would be classified as second or third grade; that it be mandatory to include the origin of the honey on all labelling and that the mixing of honey from different countries would be banned.


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