The Dangers of Antibiotics in Honey
Honey is one of natures’ most fascinating products, its biological characteristics mean that it has various health benefits and antimicrobial properties. The unique features of honey mean that it has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it one of nature’s most natural substances. The product is used globally within the health, food and cosmetic industries.
In recent years there have been rising concerns over the contamination of honey with antibiotics and other substances and led to several studies into the results of this in both bee and human health. Antibiotic residues are found in honey when they are used to treat hives for bacterial diseases, commonly used antibiotics include oxytetracycline and chloramphenicol, with residues for erythromycin, lincomycin, monensin, streptomycin and enrofloxacin also reported at times.
In addition to antibiotic resistance, drug residues in honey have become a major concern for human health. Studies have shown certain drugs are potentially able to cause allergic reactions in the short term and create long term issues relating to antimicrobial resistance, carcinogenic effects and reproductive issues.
It is widely known that the use of antibiotics in beekeeping is illegal in many EU countries, with others having no Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) established meaning that honey that tests positive for antibiotics at any residue level cannot be sold. To ensure the safe supply of contamination free honey it is important to that beekeepers and processors carryout quality assurance testing on samples before they are supplied for human consumption.
Biorex Food Diagnostics manufacture a range of ELISA based tests for the detection of various substances in honey (list below). With little training required ELISA tests are easy to use and deliver reliable results with quick turnaround times, making them easy to implement into daily testing routines in processors of any size.
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