FSANZ proposes to extend tutin limits in honey

Food Standards Australia New Zealand is inviting comments from industry members on a proposal to extend the existing maximum limits for the use of the toxin, tutin, in honey and comb honey.

The maximum limits of tutin, currently set at 2 mg per kg in honey, and 0.1 mg per kg in comb honey, are due to expire on 31 March 2011. FSANZ is planning to extend the limits for another two years.

Tutin is a naturally-occurring neurotoxin produced by the tutu bush, a plant native to New Zealand.

Honey produced in New Zealand has been found to contain unsafe levels of tutin as a result of bees foraging on honey dew excreted by passion vine hopper insects that have fed on the tutu bush.

NZ beekeeper Kevin Prout was charged in last year for selling food unfit for human consumption after 22 people were allegedly poisoned by tutin in his honeycomb.

Details of FSANZ’s Assessment Report for Proposal P1009 can be found at www.foodstandards.govt.nz.  Comments will need to be submitted by 9 November 2010.

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