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We are thinking of becoming hobby beekeepers but I have notice a lot of tutu growing in our area, we are in the far north, and was wondering as a hobbyist how would I test for tutum poisoning of the honey?

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You either pay a testing laboratory do do it or you taste test it yourself if you are not giving any away. The simplest is to harvest your honey by December 31 before any statutory requirement for testing kicks in.

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If done through a bee club it can be as little as $25 (Auckland Club). If you go it alone I don’t personally know, but would take an educated guess at about $100 with subsequent tests in the same batch being a fair bit less.

 

https://www.analytica.co.nz/Tests/Honey-Testing/Tutin

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On 14/02/2019 at 5:19 PM, David Upex said:

We are thinking of becoming hobby beekeepers but I have notice a lot of tutu growing in our area, we are in the far north, and was wondering as a hobbyist how would I test for tutum poisoning of the honey?

 i would think that in the far north harvest before 31. 12  should be achievable quite easy and so far that is considered save without testing.

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I have a friend at Karekare Beach who has had tutu very close to her hives for 30 years and has always tested since it was available, and because of all the other forage, has not had a duff test.

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On 14/02/2019 at 5:25 PM, yesbut said:

You either pay a testing laboratory do do it or you taste test it yourself if you are not giving any away. The simplest is to harvest your honey by December 31 before any statutory requirement for testing kicks in.

Taste test?! 😬☠️

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Hi David, 

 

It depends on how many samples you've got but if you'd like to get your testing done through a lab you can get it done individually or as a composite (where we combine together multiple samples to give you a 'screen' result for all your honeys in that composite group.) If your composite result comes out at as a pass you can be confident that the honeys in that group are free from tutin. If your composite fails, you would need to retest your honeys to find out which (if any) are over the Food Safety limit. 

 

I'd recommend reading through this document to understand the options further: Analytica - Tutin Testing Information.pdf

 

Otherwise cBank's suggestion of testing through a Bee Club is a really good idea if you want to keep costs down. Bearing in mind this comes with some risk that retesting might be needed in which case there would be the additional fee for the individual testing. Totally up to you with how you'd like to manage that risk. 

 

We've seen some pretty scary results come through the lab and heard first hand experiences of beekeepers being hospitalised after a few teaspoons of their own honey (😨) so if you're unsure of the risk in your area I'd recommend looking through some of the resources from ApiNZ/MPI around tut testing or just go for it and make sure you're in the clear by testing. 

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38 minutes ago, Kate R said:

We've seen some pretty scary results come through the lab and heard first hand experiences of beekeepers being hospitalised after a few teaspoons of their own honey

 

Yikes. Are you able to share a little more of the story? What time of year, an aproximate amount consumed, region, duration until symptoms, what the symptoms were for them etc?

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9 minutes ago, cBank said:

 

Yikes. Are you able to share a little more of the story? What time of year, an aproximate amount consumed, region, duration until symptoms, what the symptoms were for them etc?

 

Without breaching any sort of confidentiality, I can't indicate what region this honey came from but the majority of high tut we see comes from the 'at risk' areas that have already been identified by MPI. This is not to say that all high tut comes from these areas..! This flyer from ApiNZ is a great summary resource for identifying those risk regions, compliance levels etc. https://apinz.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/1331_Saturday_TutinArticle_Digital_FINAL.pdf 

 

I'm unsure of the specifics for amount consumed but it was described as "a couple of teaspoons". The compliance level for tutin in honey is 0.7 mg/kg. The highest levels we've seen in honey (all taken off hives and extracted after Christmas) are upwards of 50mg/kg, or around 70x the maximum residue limit. 

 

Here's a document from the New Zealand Medical Journal that explains in depth the well-known case of toxic comb honey sold in the Coromandel that resulted in several hospitalisations. This article also explains what the common effects of tutin poisoning are too (e.g. nausea, vomiting, dizziness, seizures). https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2018/vol-131-no-1473-13-april-2018/7544 

 

Hopefully that's of some help! More summary info here: Tutin_NZ Beekeeper_Apr 2017.pdf

 

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Thanks.

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2 hours ago, Ruche said:

Taste test?! 😬☠️

Yes. Every Harvest. It's not hard. Takes a few days. Get hold of an old copy (and I don't mean last years ) of "Safety in the Mountains"

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23 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Yes. Every Harvest. It's not hard. Takes a few days. Get hold of an old copy (and I don't mean last years ) of "Safety in the Mountains"

Sorry, I don't really understand: it takes a few days for the effects of the tutin to take hold? Is that what you mean? 

Edited by Ruche

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3 hours ago, Ruche said:

Sorry, I don't really understand: it takes a few days for the effects of the tutin to take hold? Is that what you mean? 

No I mean the "edibility test" takes about three days. 

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17 hours ago, yesbut said:

No I mean the "edibility test" takes about three days. 

What's the process for conducting an edibility test? 

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2 hours ago, Ruche said:

What's the process for conducting an edibility test? 

I'm not going to be the one who tells you any more than it involves common sense. You'll have to do your own research and thinking. 

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3 hours ago, Ruche said:

What's the process for conducting an edibility test? 

Pretty simple.  Sample your honey (in small amounts), if there is no reaction then try a bigger quantity.

If you get sick, then it is not fit to eating.

 

Some people refer to it as the "Mother-in-law" test.

 

This is not really the best or safest method of testing your honey.

Even if you do not sell your honey, do you want to make someone sick because you are to miserable to pay $80 to $100 to have it tested.

 

Better safe than Sorry

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2 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Even if you do not sell your honey, do you want to make someone sick because you are to miserable to pay $80 to $100 to have it tested.

My labelling states eat at your own risk.

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And hell will freeze over before I pay some scientist to tell me my honey is safe to eat.  @M4tt are you dead yet ?

Edited by yesbut
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12 minutes ago, yesbut said:

And hell will freeze over before I pay some scientist to tell me my honey is safe to eat.  @M4tt are you dead yet ?

No. You are safe to go ahead and eat your honey 😉

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1 hour ago, M4tt said:

No. You are safe to go ahead and eat your honey 😉

Cripes, we live in some uncertain times at the moment, this whole levy dispute/debate debacle...

and now m4tts become the pink cats guinee pig,

what next... 

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Different view as hobbiest vs commercials perhaps (says the guy sitting with some honey samples to send off for tutin testing).

I heard of some samples over the limit - and harvested about Jan 2nd ! (tested at 1.2 . . limit 0.7)

Last year it was very dry here - and reduced yield . . . which I felt was increased risk so I got honey tested.

 

This year I'm a bit late to take honey off so yes, will get honey tested as well. Compositing only a couple of samples (rather than all of them) by rough location

Edited by JohnF
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19 hours ago, yesbut said:

And hell will freeze over before I pay some scientist to tell me my honey is safe to eat. 

 

Damn money-grubbing scientists ! Why they couldn't . .couldn't . .*cough*, *spasm* *vomit . . .

But yes, surely most hobbiests must eat more than a few teaspoons during extraction?

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2 minutes ago, JohnF said:

But yes, surely most hobbiests must eat more than a few teaspoons during extraction?

Not an intelligent one who long ago sampled one cell full of late comb and felt rather odd thereafter. And did it again to make sure it wasn't a dream....

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33 minutes ago, JohnF said:

 

Damn money-grubbing scientists ! Why they couldn't . .couldn't . .*cough*, *spasm* *vomit . . .

But yes, surely most hobbiests must eat more than a few teaspoons during extraction?

I think i wear more than I taste during extraction...

 luckily I'm too far south to worry about it, kinda glad about that

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