NOVEMBER 2017, GOED TE WETEN
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY Deputy Director General for the food chain
Beeswax intended for honey production adulterated with paraffin and stearin
It was brought to the attention of the European Commission that beeswax intended for use in apiculture as a foundation for honey combs may be intentionally adulterated with paraffin and stearin for a purpose of economic gain.
The presence of food grade beeswax on the EU market in the form of a food additive (E901) is regulated by Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, which defines it as a natural wax obtained by melting the walls of the honeycomb made by the honey bee.
In case of use in the apiculture sector, imported beeswax is not intended for human consumption and is considered as a category 3 animal-by-product as specified in Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009.
The reported batches of contaminated beeswax contained significant amounts of paraffin and/or stearin which do not reflect the original composition of the product and may pose public health risks and affect the health condition of the bees:
in case of paraffin: potential safety issue when entering the food chain depending on the chemical nature of the paraffin used as a foundation of edible honeycomb and its contamination;
European Professional Beekeepers Association
European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit & Edible Nuts, ‘Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products, Spices and Honey
Apimondia - International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations
Bee Life - European Beekeeping Coordination
European Federation of Honey Packers and Distributors
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111 Office: B232 - Tel. direct line +32 229-032-2-2990572
Ref. Ares(2017)5326264 - 31/10/2017
- in case of stearin: potential influence on the mortality of the worker bee brood as per Belgian field trial study.
In both cases there is a need for a further study on the potential risks, but the existing data is very limited. Furthermore, there is a lack of criteria for beeswax and agreed analytical methods detecting and quantifying the presence of stearin and paraffin.
We are contacting you to know whether you have more information on this matter. Should you or your members be aware of concrete cases and have examples, then please inform us and we will investigate in case further analysis is possible.
We have already raised the awareness of the Member States’ competent authorities to this fraudulent practice and are awaiting their feedback.
You will find attached an overview of the case coordinated by DG SANTE in the form of a presentation which you can use in your communications with your members.
We count on your support to provide the Commission with any information that could allow us to proceed with the internal analysis of the matter. Thank you very much for your continuous cooperation.
Enel. : Presentation
Electronically signed on 31/10/2017 14:23 (UTC+01) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563