A honey producer in the Republic of Ireland is claiming he was unaware of the fact that the honey produced by Irish honey producers was contaminated with a potentially fatal bacterium known as Salmonella, as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report into the contamination of honey imported from the Republic.
The report found that the amount of Salmonellae in Irish honey was not a significant issue in the Irish market, but the country’s honey market, as a whole, was, because of the level of contamination, was highly contaminated, meaning that the level was so high that it could potentially be fatal.
The EFSA found that about 25% of the Irish harvest of honey exported to the United Kingdom and Europe in 2013 was contaminated.
The report states that Ireland exported an average of 1.3 million tonnes of honey a year to Europe and the United States between 2009 and 2015, and it found that Ireland produced a total of 636,000 tonnes of Salmiels worth €3.7 million, or €5.9 million, between 2008 and 2014.
In its report, the EFSA stated that the levels of contamination in Irish production were not significantly different from that found in the UK, where there was only a moderate amount of contamination.
“The European Food Standards Agency (EFSS) is of the view that Ireland should be able to declare that it meets the criteria for the declaration of a product as a honey product that contains Salmonello, as it has been doing for the last two years,” the report stated.
However, the Irish industry has been concerned that the EFSS report could put pressure on the Irish Government to act and allow Irish producers to take more control of their production.
In a statement, Irish Independent journalist Conor O’Hara said that while it was “not surprising” that the Irish and British honey producers were not aware of the significant contamination, the situation was not going to change.
“This is not just a problem for Ireland, it’s a problem worldwide and it’s an issue for us.
The Irish honey boom is in full swing and if the European Union can’t take the lead in addressing this problem, we will,” Mr O’Brien said.
The Irish honey trade is valued at around €6 billion a year, with about 25,000 Irish honey farmers and 5,000 British and American growers contributing to the sector.