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French Bees Produce Blue and Green Honey

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the best-solution-is-to-put-a-premium-on-it dept.

Idle 64

jones_supa writes "Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace, France have seen their bees starting to produce honey in an odd blue or green color. Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km away has been processing waste from a plant producing colorful M&M candies. Subsequently the bees had been carrying the waste to their nests. Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers. 'We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,' told Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor."

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I'd buy it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569117)

Seems to me that different colored honey would be a big seller.

Hell yeah! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569197)

Seems to me that different colored honey would be a big seller.

Or at the very least, use it as a sweetener in confections? Foods that would otherwise have food coloring added.

That honey doesn't have to go to waste.

And if I were a bee and saw my hard work go down the toilet, I'd be buzzing mad!

Re:Hell yeah! (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41570459)

The only problem is that this honey is quite rare. You'd only see it in shops once in a blue honeymoon.

Re:Hell yeah! (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about 2 years ago | (#41575549)

But it is food colouring, the colour is from the M&Ms processing. Still be cool to see, maybe with natural colouring agents misted onto flowers for the bees to collect.

That's a feature, not a bug! (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#41571473)

Wow-- that's a feature, not a bug.

(Well, the bees themselves are bugs.)

Re:That's a feature, not a bug! (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41577799)

No, they're insects.

Re:That's a feature, not a bug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611875)

aka bugs

Re:I'd buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41571529)

Some of us think of something entirely different....
http://bluehoney.org/about-2/the-tale-of-blue-honey/

Re:I'd buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41575521)

It is a bio-gas plant. The sugar is attracting the bees. The question is, what else is being use there and what is being brought back to the honey?

Re:I'd buy it. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41575861)

If only we had a process that could check the food to see if it is fit for human consumption or not.
Lets say a process where we start with a question, then we make an educated guess of the answer, we do test to validate or invalidate our test. We repeate the process until we come up with a solid model.

Lets call this process "science", yea it is a funny name. But instead of just going well it is a byproduct of industry it must be bad, we can see if there is anything harmful.

I'd buy it! (5, Interesting)

loonwings (1519397) | about 2 years ago | (#41569131)

Don't say it's unsellable! Mark it up, partner with Mars, and tell me where I can buy some.

Re:I'd buy it! (3, Insightful)

ccandreva (409807) | about 2 years ago | (#41569241)

Agreed. Sound like what they need is a marketing person. If it does taste the same, don't look at it as waste, look at it as a limited time premium product !

Re:I'd buy it! (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41569723)

I thought I would never see the day that /. asks for marketing people to step in and save the day.
Bet Beelzebub is learning to play broomball [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41570409)

No marketing person is going to change the fact that the honey in question is effectively made with bio-waste. This is the icky stuff that people didn't want to eat in the first go-around mixed with who knows what. I'm not saying that a marketing droid won't try...but I wouldn't eat it.

Re:I'd buy it! (2)

Swistak (899225) | about 2 years ago | (#41571943)

Not all wastes are equal. "Wate" in this case might be simply M&M that are somehow damaged (not perfectly shaped), and are thrown out becouse who would eat square M&M right?

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41574157)

It might just be waste dye that was used for making blue or green m&m's. I'd want to see the report on the safety of the product before I consumed it though.

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41570445)

Marketing person to the rescue! I propose the slogans, "Got hives?", and "Melts your spleen, not your hands".

Re:I'd buy it! (2)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#41569275)

Brilliant Blue FCF [wikipedia.org] Honey and Ketchup [usatoday.com] Yay!

Re:I'd buy it! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41569357)

How does one make ketchup blue or green? I guess if you start with green tomatoes it could work, but I think that would completely throw the taste off. How much food coloring do they have to add to turn red tomatoes blue or green? I see how purple could work, red + blue = purple, but you can't add anything to red to make it green. Unless Heinz have stopped using tomatoes completely, and just go with artificial flavouring too.

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569455)

It's pretty easy to get the red out of tomato without losing the flavor. Transparent yellow tomato soup is a classic.
Then, you use a high opacity pigment for the color (as opposed to a transmissive dye) and you can get pretty much any shade you want without too much fuss.

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41571071)

It's pretty easy to get the red out of tomato without losing the flavor. Transparent yellow tomato soup is a classic. Then, you use a high opacity pigment for the color (as opposed to a transmissive dye) and you can get pretty much any shade you want without too much fuss.

Didn't Heinz also have a sparkly ketchup? What are food-grade sparkly-bits made of? (It couldn't have been iridescent sugar crystals in this case or it would have dissolved in the ketchup.)

Re:I'd buy it! (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 2 years ago | (#41575813)

I heard all ketchup is green until dyed. They use unripe tomatoes and add corn syrup to sweeten it. Ripe tomatoes and sugar are obsolete.

Re:I'd buy it! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41570569)

Yeah, there's nothing better than food contaminated with airborne pollutants. Sure, the color is possibly food dye, but you have no idea what other contamination gets introduced. That's why there's no way this would get past the regulatory agencies...

Re:I'd buy it! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#41572975)

That's what I thought. But I saw the pictures of them. I thought it was just a blue or green hue. But the honey is opaque, and that's seems actually a bit more disturbing than the color is.

Re:I'd buy it! (1)

Abreu (173023) | about 2 years ago | (#41579995)

Good honey is sometimes opaque-whitish. Only processed honey looks golden transparent all the time.

Re:I'd buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41575493)

1 drop of food coloring, stop being unimaginative.

oprahbees.gif (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569151)

Because that's all I can think about right now

why no pics? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569155)

This story is worthless without pictures. I mean, it's about colors, goddamn it! I wanna see this so-called blue and green honey, and judge for myself whether it is actually blue or green.

Re:why no pics? (2)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41569735)

I'm colorblind, you insensitive clod.

Re:why no pics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569907)

Now, the Government is going to require the bees to generate honey for the colorblind. No wonder why they are quitting making honey in colors altogether.

Re:why no pics? (5, Informative)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 2 years ago | (#41572237)

Re:why no pics? (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | about 2 years ago | (#41580125)

My first thought when I read the article was "just sell it as a novelty product" - green and yellow honey in some sort of twin pack might go down well in sports-mad Australia, for example. But those pictures are much, much more disturbing than I expected, and I'm not sure I could get past the colour after all. Maybe kids would love the idea of funky-coloured honey though (they like tomato sauce to be green FFS - kids are weird).

Imported bees? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41569157)

Perhaps they were imported Tanzanian bees and went slightly patriotic on the honey color.

Re:Imported bees? (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about 2 years ago | (#41569427)

Well, ain't that a beeitch.

Video (with pics) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569159)

The BBC has video, where you can actually see it:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19840555

Re:Video (with pics) (1)

Guignol (159087) | about 2 years ago | (#41570221)

There is more video information available here [youtu.be]
It features an interview of a beekeeper, though not a french one but I soppose it doesn't matter this is just in order to get some expert's feedback

Re:Video (with pics) (5, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | about 2 years ago | (#41570301)

There also are photos [lalsace.fr] from a local newspaper (if you use noscript, allow www.lalsace.fr [lalsace.fr] , there are 12 photos, not only one).

Google Image [google.fr] in French has a few others.
I like the green one [cagou.com] .

Also, this is not innocuous, as the queen bees have stopped to lay eggs due to the unusual food (source [ladepeche.fr] in French).

Finally, clickable link [bbc.co.uk] for the BBC video, for the lazy :)

(Aside note : Slashdot also removes UTF-8 in URLs, I had to use %E9 instead of é.)

Similar to this story about red honey. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569251)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyregion/30bigcity.html

Pics or it didn't happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569261)

links with photos [google.com]

Where can I buy it? (1)

lordsilence (682367) | about 2 years ago | (#41569473)

I'd love to have some blue, green and red honey on display and possibly on the toast
. Seems to me it should be perfectly safe since the candy color is approved for human consumption unless the colors get concentrated somehow (which I doubt).

Re:Where can I buy it? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#41570603)

If you'd love to have that - why not just get food-grade colorant/dye from a chemist and have at it?

For red, you can probably just use beet juice - hit up the internets on how to get a concentrate of that.

Coming Up Next.... (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 2 years ago | (#41569591)

Some candy-sweet milk [slashdot.org] to go with your weird coloured honey.

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41569611)

Yes, I like that. A mainly harmless demonstration on how waste gets back into our food. And yes, this mechanism works for other substances as well, we just don't see the poison...

Finally! (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#41569619)

Something to go with my eggs.

Re:Finally! (1)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#41570021)

and ham.

Re:Finally! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41572607)

Something to go with my eggs.

Put parsley leaves in a blender for green eggs. An Iranian dish : "Kuku Zhab Zie."

Not surprised (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41569865)

Then again, I wonder if they've checked the soil conditions lately to see if the aluminum content has increased or there was spillover contamination. High aluminum content in the soil will cause blue honey as well, there's a few places where this has happened before. NY State, North Carolina, I believe on in Iowa too.

Halloween breakfast biscuit honey (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 2 years ago | (#41570065)

This would sell for quite the price as novelty biscuit honey during Halloween at various breakfast cafes in the US. Green eggs, ham, orange grits, and blue biscuit honey. Yum.

And what about other chemicals? (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#41570179)

Note how it made the news only because there is a visible effect. Let's just think how many other honey plantations and other crops were contaminated in ways that don't colour the produce.

In other news, bees from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41571301)

...northern Ukraine and southern Belarus have been making glow-in-the-dark honey for about a quarter of a century now ;-)

Coming soon from Japanese bees, too.

Re:And what about other chemicals? (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about 2 years ago | (#41575577)

That's a sobering thought. I wonder if they test or just assume it's safe?

The green honey makes you horny! (1)

ed1park (100777) | about 2 years ago | (#41570201)

*ducks* :)

As a hobby beekeeper... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41570211)

It always amazes me when people talk about the "purity" of honey. My bees would _prefer_ to collect water from a mud-puddle in a giant pile of manure than from an open bottle of Evian. Sure, honey kills any biological organisms that may be picked up but chemicals are another matter.

Blue honey? yay! Green honey? eew. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41570905)

Blue honey? yay!
Green honey? eew.

Not radioactive at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41571133)

They must have been concerned at the bery beginning since Ribeauvillé is close to Fessenheim nuclear power plant, which is the oldest operating in France and raises concerns about its safety (French president Hollande announced its closure by 2016).

Re:Not radioactive at least (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#41573635)

uh yeah, because radioactive contamination from nuke plants often goes unchecked and makes foodstuffs turn blue or green.

you're funny...

This is why I'm not interested in urban honey (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41571923)

I get honey from the Santa Cruz mountains. It's "wildflower honey" or maybe "blackberry honey" or something like that, because the bees visit those types of fields.

Whenever I hear about urban beekeeping I think "mmmm.... dumpster honey", because that's where you see urban bees. "Ahhh... just a slight hint of rotten fruit thrown out by houskeepers who can't manage spoilage, with a hint of HFCS from soda residue".

Mead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41573789)

When I read about honey all I can think is "what kind of mead would it produce?".

Address the problem? (1)

Krigl (1025293) | about 2 years ago | (#41573993)

Like the problem with lack of entrepreneurial spirit? Let's start with marketing the green honey to Umberto Eco fans — anyone else read Baudolino?

old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41578817)

This has already happened, years ago. Ask any knowledgeable beekeeper. Bees will go for anything with sugar-related content, good for them in the long run or not.

bee healthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41580683)

eat your honey

You're underestimating (1)

ToddInSF (765534) | about 2 years ago | (#41582105)

This proves beyond a reasonable doubt the inter-connectivity of the bio-systems, so whenever something like this happens we're just reminded that there are so many other things occurring that we have no clue about simply because nobody's looking.

The other sobering thing is that this incident tells me is that your first line of detection is just as likely to be someone that people may not necessarily pay any attention to at all, and that if someone eventually does listen to them, you can be certain that the parties responsible (large corporations) will always claim that they knew about it at the same time and took measures to address the "problem"; which means little more than they covered their asses from any possible litigation than actually doing anything responsible to determine the real scope and severity of the problem they caused.
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