Honey Extraction Protocol
The protocol for honey extraction for this project was developed and reviewed by the following experts: Comvita New Zealand Ltd, Oritain Global Ltd, Russell Frew, Ross Ward, Peter Bray, Don Tweeddale, Moira Haddrell, Richard Haddrell and Bruce Stevenson.
Oritain Global is collecting authentic honey samples from across New Zealand. Collection of these honey samples will be undertaken independently, in a forensically robust manner. Oritain is sending four frames to identified beekeepers four weeks prior to visiting. Whilst on site at hive locations, the four frames will be removed, packaged and delivered back to Oritain for extraction and sub sampling. To ensure ‘Gold Standard’ level of extraction is achieved, we have developed an extraction protocol and sought opinion/input from Oritain Science Board and key identified bee keepers. This document will outline the procedures for staff to follow in order to comply with the required standards. Internal auditing of the extraction procedure will be measured and monitored to ensure the effectiveness of procedures outlined in this document. The responsibility for managing extraction is with Oritain Global Ltd and designated staff.
Each identified site will be provided with four new plastic frames, 4 weeks prior to collection. Each frame will etched with a unique alpha-numerical code that will link the site. The frames have been coated with a clean foundation wax. The plastic used in the frames is a GP styrene food grade plastic.
The main flow will have a queen excluder, double brood box and then two honey boxes. The four sample frames provided are to be placed in middle of the second honey box. Consideration needs to be given to drawn comb issue, it can take 10 days to draw wax foundation and where practical a weekly check of the frames is to be requested of the beekeepers.
Honey extraction is the central process of removing honey from honey comb so that it is isolated in a pure liquid form. The four filled frames will be collected from each site personally by the Oritain project manager. These frames will be stored and transported in a secure, sealed box, with a separate box for each set of four frames collected from the hive site.
Extraction of the honey will be undertaken at premises located Dukes Road North, Mosgiel, Otago. An electric four frame extractor, Impianto Electtrico (V220) will be used. The samples will be secure and under immediate control of the Oritain project manager at all times.
Prior to extraction the frames will be stored securely, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. In the extraction process, we are trying to replicate quality of honey to that of drum honey.
Prior to extraction for sampling, each frame will be identified. This will involve removing any wax or capping to clearly identify which site the frame has come from.
To allow for temperature control, there will be a recording thermometer in warming room, with high and low to be recorded each day. Temperature will not reach over 40 degrees, and optimum temperature that will be sought is 30 degrees.
To extract the manuka and kanuka honey a manual pricking process will be undertaken. Plastic needles will be used only. The pricking device will be cleaned between samples. A three to five centimetre strip of capping from both sides of the frame will be removed; this is to be retained separately as a sample and numbered according to the site code.
Frames are to be uncapped by hand, with either a ceramic or new stainless steel hot knife. This is best practice and will avoid metal contamination for trace element testing that will take place at a later date. All these cappings, including any honey in cappings, will be retained separately as a sample and numbered according to the site code.
A visual check is to be made of the frame, to check for pollen. Where there are significant amounts of pollen, this will be cut around and left out. Significant amounts of pollen have the potential to distort some science testing and if a frame is full of pollen, this frame will be excluded from the extraction process.
Frames will be placed in an electric four frame extractor. Honey to be run through double sieve prior to potting. Honey will be placed into 20x50gr and 20x250gr containers. Honey will then be stored at a constant temperature of 4 degrees.
When frame has had honey extracted, a further sample of wax off each from will be taken and retained separately as a sample and numbered according to the site code. Thorough cleaning of extracting machine between batches will take place to ensure there is no cross contamination between samples.
Oritain will maintain records of honey collected. These records will show:
- Sample Custody Management Sheet
- GPS location
- Project number
- Collection date
- Video footage
- Movement and storage details
- Transfer of sub samples for science work
- Extraction details
All visitors to Oritain are required to report on arrival pursuant to the MAF approved transitional facility status. All honey will be kept in appropriate storage containment that is clearly labeled. Storage facility will be locked all times and alarmed when Oritain staff are not present.
The extraction process will take place inside a specialised room. The rooms are well sealed, with both windows and doors remaining closed at all times during extraction procedure, this is to prevent bees and other insects entering or contaminating samples.
The following work practices are required while storing, sub sampling and extracting honey:
- Lab coats, closed shoes, gloves and hair ties, will be worn when handling honey and during extraction.
- No food or drink to be consumed in extraction room.
- Work surfaces are to be regularly cleaned and areas under benched are to be kept clear of clutter, with safe laboratory practices to be maintained at all times.
- Sink will be used for washing hands prior to and between extracting sample sets.