Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy
OCA's Save the Bees Campaign

Transgenic Soybean Pollen (Glycine max L.) in Honey from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Using precise pollen species determination by conventional microscopic methods, accompanied by molecular genetic markers, we found bees collect GMO (genetically modified) soybean pollen and incorporate it in Yucatan honey. Honey comb samples from Las Flores, Campeche, Mexico, often contained soybean pollen. Pollen in honey was analyzed in nine samples; six contained substantial soy pollen and two tested positive for soybean GMO. Our analyses confirm field observations that honey bees, Apis mellifera, gather soybean pollen and nectar. The resultant risk for honey production in the Yucatán Peninsula and Mexico is evident in wholesale price reduction of 12% when GMO products are detected and honey consignments are rejected. Although this affects only 1% of current export honey (2011–2013) GMO soybean is an unacknowledged threat to apiculture and its economics in one of the world's foremost honey producing areas.

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