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Risk assessment of beeswax adulterated with paraffin and/or stearin/stearic acid when used in apiculture and as food (honeycomb)

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Published on: Thu, 14 May 2020

EFSA has established purity criteria and technical specifications for beeswax used in apiculture. The risks to honey bees and humans that are exposed to beeswax adulterated with paraffin and/or stearin/stearic acid and their possible contaminants was assessed. Exposure ofhoney bees may occur via contact or oral routes and ofhumans via consumption of honey contaminated with constituents of adulterated beeswax or honeycomb contained in honey pots. EFSA gathered information from various sources, such asscientific literature and the media (MedISys). From the appraisal and statistical analysis of the classic and advanced methods used for beeswax authentication, it is concluded that purity testing should include at least two physico‐chemical parameters complemented with advanced analytical methods for a reliablysensitive detection (limit of detectionn‐alkanes and containing hardly any aromatic compounds with more than two aromatic rings) to be of low concern. The consumption of beeswax adulterated withparaffin would result in an increased exposure to certain contaminants for which a potential concern has already been identified, such usmineral oil saturated hydrocarbons.Exposure to food‐gradestearin and its contaminants would not be of concern, although the latter might slightly contribute to the overall exposure to some contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and dioxin‐like polychlorinated biphenyls. Since gaps in knowledge and data were found, recommendations are listed to support future risk assessments on the impact of adulterated beeswax on both humans and bees.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Risk assessment of beeswax adulterated with paraffin and/or stearin/stearic acid when used in apiculture and as food (honeycomb)


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