Pollen from GM soybeans threatens Mexico’s honey sales
by: PF Louis
Sunday, February 16, 2014
A large part of Mexico’s agricultural export is honey. They are ranked fifth worldwide for exporting the bees’ food, but recently Germany rejected a batch of honey from Mexico. Pollen from genetically modified (GM) soybean plants was found in the honey being imported.
Bee keepers in the region and agricultural authorities of the Mexican state of Campeche, one of the states in the Yucatan Peninsula at the southeastern tip of Mexico, were mystified. So a research team familiar with bees and Mexico came in to determine what was going on with GMOs affecting bee colonies in Campeche.
Apparently, some locals thought that GMO contamination from crops considered safe for human consumption was okay in other nations. There is plenty of GM soy declared fit for human consumption in Mexico. Others didn’t realize that the bees from local apiaries would be collecting pollen from nearby GM soybean plants. No matter, German buyers weren’t buying.
David Roubik, senior staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and his colleagues found that six honey samples from nine hives in the Campeche region contained soy pollen in addition to pollen from many wild plant species. The pollen came from crops near the bee colonies in several small apiaries.