HC Deb 11 May 2000 vol 349 c459W
Mr. Caton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice his Department has prepared for beekeepers wishing to produce pure honey whose hives are located in the proximity of genetically modified crop plantings; [120695]

(2) what compensation he pays to beekeepers who are prevented from describing honey produced by their bees as pure, by the proximity of genetically modified crop plantings; [120698]

(3) how far beehives need to be located away from a genetically modified crop planting to ensure that the honey produced complies with labelling regulations for the use of the description pure. [120697]

Ms Stuart

There is no existing legislation which defines the use of the word "pure" in food labelling.

However in October 1999 officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food/Department of Health Joint Food Safety and Standards Group wrote to the British Beekeepers Association and the British Honey Importers and Packers Association advising them that the presence of GM pollen in honey does not effect the labelling of honey. I am placing copies of the letters in the Library.

Work carried out by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, a report of which is also available in the Library, indicates that the amount of genetically modified material in honey that might arise from bees foraging on GM crops is likely to be extremely small.