Ministry seeking method to identify characteristics of Estonian honey ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

President Kersti Kaljulaid and the bee hives at Kadriorg Park.
President Kersti Kaljulaid and the bee hives at Kadriorg Park. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Ministry of Rural Affairs is looking for a partner who could analyze the profile of Estonian honey in three years. This knowledge would make it possible to compare all honey on sale and to determine whether the goods advertised as domestic truly are.

Last year, the Veterinary and Food Board focused on controlling the origin of honey. Merle Laurimaa, Chief Specialist of the Food Department of the Board, said that 97 companies were inspected from September to November.

"It was checked whether the amount of honey produced, including purchased honey, corresponded to the amount of honey placed on the market and stored in the company, the accompanying documents and their compliance with the requirements were checked. And as a result of those inspections, it was in no way found that the origin of the honey had been falsified," Laurimaa said.

It is difficult to say whether Estonian entrepreneurs are honest or that too few documents are checked. Laurimaa said the Agency hopes for the first. At the same time, she added if there were a more precise way to find out the origin of the honey, it would be useful.

Külli Suurvarik, chief specialist at the General Food Requirements Bureau of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, also said the documents were accompanied by a risk of forgery. 

That is why the ministry has announced a public procurement to find a more reliable method for identifying domestic honey. Suurvarik explained the winner of the procurement must first describe how, where and when to collect at least four hundred samples of Estonian honey.

In this way, the profile of Estonian honey or the so-called fingerprint should become clear. 

Honey with forged documents is a concern in many countries around the world. Laurimaa stated that it is not easy to find out the geographical origin of honey and all methods have their drawbacks. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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