Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA Press Release, 6 February 2002

HONEY - Tests on Chinese and blended honey show traces of illegal residue of veterinary drug

The Food Standards Agency has received the results of tests on batches of Chinese and blended honey on sale in the UK. The Agency began these tests as a result of concerns about a lack of control on the use of veterinary drugs in China. Seven out of 15 samples tested positive for an illegal residue of the veterinary medicine, streptomycin.

This does not give rise to a food safety concern and the public can continue to consume honey already bought from the list below. Nevertheless honey cannot legally contain streptomycin (which is also a human antibiotic) and the Agency has advised the relevant companies of the test results.

The companies are co-operating fully in the withdrawal of the affected products, which is now underway.

Affected products

The Agency began testing honey and other relevant Chinese products on sale in the UK, prior to the European Union's formal decision to suspend imports of products of animal origin from China last week (January 31 2002).

A European Commission inspection visit had expressed concern about the lack of controls on the use of veterinary drugs in animals in China. Products affected by the EU ban that are in transit to the EU/UK over the next five weeks will only be able to enter the country if they pass strict checks. After March 13 2002, all such imports will be suspended. The Agency is carrying out further tests on honey and other animal products from China and will issue further public advice if necessary.

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