LETTER to BfDJ
Nicotine in honey
In 2011 it was claimed that honey exported to Germany from Tabora in Tanzania showed traces of nicotine. As a result, fear arose with many consumers, including here in Tanzania, and they are afraid to buy Tabora honey. We as research scientists decided to tackle this matter by first proving whether or not honey from Tabora contains nicotine, and if so, if that amount is dangerous to humans. We collected 13 samples from Sikonge and Urambo Districts in Tabora and carried out laboratory analysis at Sokoine University. Small traces of nicotine were found in all 13 samples averaging 0.0036%. Our question therefore is to know what are the allowable standards for nicotine in honey.
We read that nicotine is present in all plants of the family Solanaceae including egg plants and tomatoes, and that a certain amount of nicotine is good for stimulating the body.
We look forward to your reply.
Steven Liseki, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Arusha, Tanzania
Dr Gudrun Beckh from Quality Services International GmbH in Bremen, Germany explains:
Nicotine falls under Pesticide Regulation 396/2005 + amendments. For honey there is no specific Maximum Residue Level (MRL) and therefore the general MRL of 0.01 mg/kg can be applied.