Authors:A. Kumar, J.P.S. Gill, J.S. Bedi, and P.K. Chhuneja
Indiscriminate use of antibiotics in apicultural practices may lead to contamination of otherwise healthy and naturally produced honey. Contamination not only affects honey quality but also pose significant health risks to consumers. In this context, one hundred raw honey samples from India were analysed for presence of antibiotic residues. For determination of oxytetracycline and erythromycin, high performance liquid chromatography and for chloramphenicol, enzyme immunoassay based validated procedures were used. Oxytetracycline and erythromycin with concentrations above maximum tolerance limits were detected in 24% and 2% samples, respectively. None of the samples contained chloramphenicol residues. Although, total dietary intake of detected antibiotics through honey was found to be <1% of their acceptable daily intake values, the presence of antibiotics in honey is an alarming health concern for people following customary honey feeding. The outcomes underline the need of inter-sectoral approaches to create awareness among beekeepers regarding health risks associated with residues of antibiotics in honey and merits of approved apicultural practices. Therefore, to meet global food safety requirements, continual residue monitoring schemes along with enlightenment of beekeepers on scientific beehive management and risks associated with incautious apicultural practices are of vital importance.