Stingless bee honey is healthy, new research

This August 2018 video is called Stingless bee honey harvest 🐝

From the University of Queensland in Australia:

Science sweetens stingless bee species honey health claims

July 22, 2020

Summary: Examination of honey from five different stingless bee species across Neotropical and Indo-Australian regions has enabled for the first time the identification of the unusual disaccharide trehalulose as a major component representing between 13 and 44 g per 100 g of each of these honeys. The previously unrecognized abundance of trehalulose in stingless bee honeys is concrete evidence that supports some of the reported health attributes of this product.

Science has validated Indigenous wisdom by identifying a rare, healthy sugar in native stingless bee honey that is not found in any other food.

University of Queensland organic chemist Associate Professor Mary Fletcher said Indigenous peoples had long known that native stingless bee honey had special health properties.

“We tested honey from two Australian native stingless bee species, two in Malaysia and one in Brazil and found that up to 85 per cent of their sugar is trehalulose, not maltose as previously thought,” she said.

Dr Fletcher said trehalulose was a rare sugar with a low glycaemic index (GI), and not found as a major component in any other foods.

“Traditionally it has been thought that stingless bee honey was good for diabetes and now we know why — having a lower GI means it takes longer for the sugar to be absorbed into the bloodstream, so there is not a spike in glucose that you get from other sugars,” Dr Fletcher said.

“Interestingly trehalulose is also acariogenic, which means it doesn’t cause tooth decay.”

Dr Fletcher said the findings would strengthen the stingless bee honey market and create new opportunities.

“Stingless bee honey sells now for around AUD $200 per kilogram, which is up there with the price of Manuka and Royal Jelly honey,” she said.

“The high commercial value also makes it a risk for substitution, where people could sell other honey as stingless bee honey, or dilute the product.

“But due to this research, we can test for this novel sugar, which will help industry to set a food standard for stingless bee honey.

“People have patented ways of making trehalulose synthetically with enzymes and bacteria, but our research shows stingless bee honey can be used as a wholefood on its own or in other food to get the same health benefits.”

The work of Dr Fletcher and the research team has led to a new project funded by AgriFutures Australia and supported by the Australian Native Bee Association.

Working with Dr Natasha Hungerford from UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation and Dr Tobias Smith from the School of Biological Sciences the new project will investigate storage and collection, to optimise the trehalulose content of Australian stingless bee honey.

Stingless bees (Meliponini) occur in most tropical and sub-tropical regions, with more than 500 species across Neotropical, Afrotropical and Indo-Australian regions.

Like the well-known Apis mellifera honeybees, stingless bees live in permanent colonies made up of a single queen and workers, who collect pollen and nectar to feed larvae within the colony.

Dr Fletcher said keeping native stingless bees was gaining in popularity in Australia, for their role as pollinators as well as for their unique honey.

As well as having health benefits, stingless bee honey is valued for its flavour and is in high demand from chefs.

Slaughterhouses unsafe, veterinarians warn, bosses neglect COVID-19

This 18 June 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: 657 new cases in German slaughterhouse

Company officials say the outbreak could be linked to a recent easing of travel restrictions. The new cluster of cases comes as hundreds of households in Berlin are back under quarantine after a spike in infections.

Read more here.

Since then, there have been many more infections with COVID-19 for workers of, and people living around that, Tönnies corporation slaughterhouse.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today, by Nynke de Zoeten:

During the coronavirus crisis, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) responded indifferently and negligently to warnings that the situation in slaughterhouses was not safe. Employees were also insufficiently protected. This is evident from internal mails and documents by two veterinarians who work for the NVWA that Nieuwsuur TV program has.

From the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, NVWA’s own people warned about the situation in the slaughterhouses. But the vets Martien Scheepers and Jerome Stokkermans, who have to monitor animal welfare and food safety in the slaughterhouses, do not feel sufficiently heard and “let down” by the NVWA management.

Distressed NVWA employees also report to the FNV trade union federation, says executive member Mieke van Vliet. “They also wanted permanent services, and not moving from plant to plant, but that was not followed.” According to the NVWA, this is attempted, but it is not feasible within the roster. According to Scheepers and Stokkermans, an alternative timetable is not being considered.

Van Vliet says that there are guidelines from the NVWA, but that they prove unworkable in practice. Only after a number of major outbreaks in slaughterhouses does change take place.

MPs are shocked. “You can expect that an organization created to monitor compliance with rules will also itsel\f comply with the rules,” says D66 Member of Parliament Tjeerd de Groot. …

Party for the Animals MP Esther Ouwehand: “We can conclude that the minister has misinformed the House. Either she was misinformed by the NVWA bosses, or she deliberately sent the wrong information. Both are serious.”

Hygiene lock

Scheepers’ wife, who also works for the NVWA, also sent an urgent letter to her boss at the beginning of May. She was shocked by the so-called hygiene locks in the slaughterhouse where she works. “I didn’t know what I was seeing, people pushing each other away to wash hands quickly. There is a distance of 0 cm. I think this is a ticking time bomb.”

The manager replied that she will discuss it in “a few days”: “I don’t know if we can do anything about it if the corporation gives us the space. In addition, employees sit side by side in the working environment, canteen, transport and very they probably live close together. … ” On May 12, Scheepers’ wife developed corona-like symptoms. She was only tested after insistence and indeed proved to be positive. …

In early May, half of the vets said in an internal survey that they regularly cannot keep a meter and a half distance. Two-thirds say that keeping a distance in the meat sector is impossible. Nevertheless, Minister of Agriculture, Carola Schouten, replied to parliamentary questions: “inquiries at the NVWA did not show that the RIVM health authority guidelines are not being complied with on a large scale”.

There have been coronavirus outbreaks in at least five slaughterhouses and meat processing companies in the Netherlands. It has been clear to Scheepers and Stokkermans from the start that the RIVM guidelines are “not enforceable at all”. Stokkermans e-mails his supervisor: “For many years we have been working there under often miserable and unhealthy conditions … Conditions were already on the edge, but are completely unacceptable under the current coronavirus conditions.”


The concerns in the Netherlands are still increasing. On March 22, an NL alert is issued: ‘keep your distance’. But that still doesn’t happen in the slaughterhouses. The most experienced NVWA supervisors, the ‘Senior Supervising Veterinarians’, send an angry email to the management.

“We work in places where sick people are working. Where insufficient protective equipment is available. We feel let down (in every possible way) by our management.” They email colleagues: “We keep on going as if there is no coronavirus.”

COVID-19 and food industry, worldwide

This 28 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Workers call for closure of meatpacking plant to avoid COVID-19

Some employees at JBS Beef in Tolleson fear catching COVID-19.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 30 June 2020:

Lawsuit charges Tyson foods culpable in death of three workers at Iowa pork plant

A lawsuit on behalf of the families of three workers who died of COVID-19 at Tyson’s largest pork-processing facility in Waterloo, Iowa was filed June 25. Sedika Buljic, aged 58, Reberiano Garcia, aged 60 and Jose Ayala, Jr., aged 44, died during the period April to May from the coronavirus under conditions where the company knowingly put workers at risk.

The Spence Law Firm is charging that the company was aware of the spread of the virus to the Waterloo plant, but concealed the information. As the contagion grew, management failed to implement safety measures. Lastly, in what an AP report called an “explosive claim,” Tyson, “allowed workers and subcontractors from another Iowa plant that had closed due to a coronavirus outbreak to begin working in Waterloo in April. Plant supervisors told employees that their sick coworkers had the flu and warned them not to discuss coronavirus at work.”

In an April newspaper ad, the company’s CEO John Tyson issued a warning that coronavirus and plant closures were leading to a breakdown in the “food supply chain” and there would be meat shortages. Meanwhile, Tyson’s exports of pork to China during the same month increased.

COVID-19 increase at UK’s 2 Sisters, Rowan and Kober meat processing factories. By Tony Robson, 1 July 2020. Inadequate and unsafe forms of transport, poor working conditions, and rundown accommodation are class issues bound up with the wealth extraction demanded by capitalism.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

Super-exploitation in Covid-infected meat factories

THE LINK between outbreaks of Covid-19 at meat processing plants and the sector’s widespread exploitation of migrant workers on low pay and insecure contracts ‘must be addressed’, the union Unite said yesterday.

Although conditions within refrigerated meat processing factories have been cited as a risk factor for coronavirus transmission, Unite said there is also a direct correlation between the treatment of migrant staff as ‘disposable assets’ and the spread of the disease in such environments.

This is particularly true in meat processing factories that do not provide staff who need to self-isolate with company sick pay or any other form of financial support, as it increases the danger of individuals with Covid-19 going into work because they cannot afford to take time off.

The union also raised concerns about track and trace record keeping for agency workers, such as production line staff and cleaners, who often work at multiple sites and whose contact details may not be available or could be overlooked during infection control procedures.

Industry employment standards are also directly linked to overcrowded housing which is a contributing factor to the risk of outbreaks within factories.

A recent Unite survey of 20 per cent of the workforce at a Covid-19 impacted meat processing plant staffed overwhelmingly by migrant workers, found that 43 per cent of respondents live with two or more colleagues (at least three to a house) and 11 per cent live with five or more.

Nearly 65 per cent of the 150 respondents said they have attended work whilst unwell, with 69 per cent of those doing so because they could not afford to lose pay. Just 10 per cent of respondents said they have been tested for Covid-19.

Unite national officer Bev Clarkson said: ‘Exploitation driven by corporate greed is a major factor in the public health emergencies amongst meat processing plants here and in other countries.

‘Migrant workers, who often do not speak English and are scared to speak out because they fear losing their jobs, suffer under a relentless system that long pre-dates Covid-19 in which they are treated without dignity or respect. Exploitation is so rife within the sector that Unite is also concerned that some workers are vulnerable to modern slavery.

‘This issue is now being brought to public attention because of its impact on the UK’s ability to stem the virus. People can see that the treatment of staff in the sector as disposable assets is unjust, unsustainable and a danger to public health.

‘As a priority, employers and government must end the terrible situation where workers are having to choose between self-isolating or going into work because they cannot afford to be ill.

‘It is imperative that ministers and industry commit to a root and branch reform of the meat processing sector. The dire working conditions, low pay and insecure employment that blight the industry and have now come back to bite the nation’s efforts to defeat the coronavirus must be addressed.’

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

At fish processor ProFish in Twello in Gelderland province, 43 workershave been infected with the coronavirus in recent weeks.

”I can get another job. I can’t get another life”. Food processing plants in Ohio and New York hit with outbreaks. By Alex Findijs, 1 July 2020. Outbreaks at salad and fruit processing plants in Springfield, Ohio, and Oswego, New York, show the vulnerability of food workers to the deadly disease.

German slaughterhouse corporation COVID-19 scandal

This video from Germany says about itself:

Ruptly is live from Rheda-Wiedenbrueck on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, after 400 employees of meat processing company Tönnies tested positive for coronavirus.

The Guetersloh district authorities have decided to shut down the operations at the meat company and close all schools and daycare centres until the summer holidays.

Tönnies is going through their second wave of COVID-19 infection this year.

The meat industry has been criticised for not respecting coronavirus hygiene and safety rules since the pandemic started, leading to concerns, as some 130,000 people are employed in 1,500 slaughterhouses across Germany.

Then, it was still ´only´ 400 infected workers …

Tönnies is the biggest meat processing corporation in Germany.

Germany: Alarm mood at the meat baron Tönnies: here. When that article was written, it was still ´only´ 657 infected workers …

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The corona outbreak in the German meat processing company Tönnies is spreading further. 1029 employees turned out to be infected, compared to almost 700 earlier this week. Two-thirds of the infected workers work in the cutting department.

All 7000 employees of the company in North Rhine-Westphalia are in quarantine. The German health minister Lauterbach has closed the plant. He thinks it is “not responsible” to keep the business open because the source of the infections has still not been discovered.

“Did it happen in the canteen, on the way in, while working or is it the ventilation?” he wonders.

Clemens Tönnies, the millionaire boss of the slaughterhouses, is also the owner of the football club Schalke 04. Schalke 04 players dislike him because of his racist views on Africans: here.

UPDATE 21 June 2020: meanwhile, 1553 Tönnies workers infected.

Good Mexican seabird news

This June 2020 video says about itself:

Mexico’s Secret Seabirds | AWC Episode 1

There are few birds as charismatic or endearing as the blue-footed booby. Join James and Josh on an adventure to Isla Isabel, an island off Mexico’s Pacific coast, to understand the importance of this national park to breeding seabirds.

Along the way, we meet world-renowned chef and star of Master Chef Mexico, Betty Vázquez. By stepping into her kitchen and hearing her story, we discover the impact Isla Isabel and the blue-footed boobies have had on her culinary career.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Good News: After 25 Years of Hard Work, Mexico Recovers 20+ Seabird Species

Seabirds are the fastest declining bird group in the world—so kudos to Mexican biologists for pulling off a massive effort to reverse centuries of damage and restore seabird populations on nearly 40 islands. Their success is a gleam of hope, as well as inspiration for tackling these problems elsewhere. Find out how they did it in our full story.

‘COVID-19 tests for all slaughterhouse workers’

This 1 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

1st glimpse inside a meatpacking plant as work continues despite coronavirus | WNT

Across the U.S., there are more than 6,500 meatpacking workers infected with COVID-19 and the virus has killed at least 20.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The more than 30,000 people who work in the meat processing industry must be tested for the coronavirus. That says trade union federation FNV following the coronavirus outbreak at a meat processing corporation in Helmond.

In a sample, 21 of the 130 employees tested at Van Rooi Meat were found to be infected with the virus. …

“All samples have cases”, said FNV executive member John Klijn. “So there is no reason to believe it is better with other companies in the industry.” …

With similar outbreaks in slaughterhouses in the US, Germany and France in mind, Klijn believes it is wise to have everyone tested. “At the Groenlo meatpacking plant, people in the office were also infected, so we can learn lessons from that.” …

About 33,000 people work in the Dutch slaughterhouse industry. Of these, around 12,000 people are migrant workers. There are more than 350 slaughterhouses and according to the trade association, they generate more than 10 billion euros turnover per year. Most of the meat is exported.

The FNV executive member also argues that staff should receive the same protective equipment as people who work in hospitals. In some factories, employees already work with facemasks, but according to Klijn, that is often an all-day mask.

‘No more jampacked together’

The 1700 employees of the now-closed Van Rooi Meat in Helmond will all be tested for the virus. Most of the workers there come from abroad, the chairman of the Brabant-Southeast Safety Region John Jorritsma said in the NOS Radio 1 News.

“The people who are now in quarantine are very happy that they now get at least a decent place to stay,” says Jorritsma. According to him, some workers lived in “degrading conditions” at campsites across the border. “Now they no longer have to lie huddled together in a tent.”

According to FNV executive member Klijn, the sample at Van Rooi Meat once again shows that risk is stacked in this sector. “You work and live together in an atmosphere that keeps the virus alive for longer.”

French slaughterhouses, COVID-19 epicentres

This French video is about COVID-19 at the Kermené slaughterhouse. It is from 18 May 2020, when it was still reported that ‘only’ six workers had been infected.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

More than 100 infections in French slaughterhouse

In a slaughterhouse in Brittany, 109 employees are infected with the coronavirus. …

It is a slaughterhouse of meat processing corporation Kermené in Saint-Jacut-du-Mené. …

Yesterday it was announced that 45 people were infected at the slaughterhouse of Vion in Groenlo … . Meat processing plants also turn out to be epicentres of coronavirus contamination in Germany, and in the United States nearly one in five workers in the meat processing industry has become infected.

Dutch slaughterhouses, COVID-19 epicentres

This 12 May 2020 video says about itself:

COVID-19 outbreaks in German slaughterhouses expose grim working conditions in meat industry

Unions say much of the cheap meat on our supermarket shelves is slaughtered by migrant workers who earn low wages, live in cramped shared accommodation and operate in crowded working conditions even in the midst of a pandemic.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

A slaughterhouse of the Dutch group Vion in Groenlo was immediately closed after 45 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) confirms the closure upon inquiry. All employees will be tested. Due to the high number of infections, the NVWA could no longer guarantee the health of the veterinarians and they decided as a precaution that they suspend their work. This means that the slaughterhouse must be closed because no slaughtering is allowed without supervision.

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality informed parliament today in a letter that possibly twenty percent of the employees are infected. …


There have been concerns about the situation in slaughterhouses for some time. Eighty percent of the employees are migrant workers and often live together. Trade unions and whistleblowers also report that there is often not enough distance in the slaughterhouses. The Party for the Animals and D66 called in Nieuwsuur TV show this week for taking measures.

Earlier, 28 employees of a Vion site in Scherpenzeel were tested positive for coronavirus and placed on a ship in isolation. …

Small vans

Also in Bad Bramstedt, a small town to the north of Hamburg, a slaughterhouse of the Dutch group has come to a standstill because 128 employees had to be quarantined due to a coronavirus infection.

Employees in the meat industry throughout Germany are infected with COVID-19. “It is mainly the housing where several people have to live in one room and the transport with small vans that cause people to get infected quickly,” Marcel Mansouri of the NGG union said in Nieuwsuur on Monday.

German slaughterhouses, COVID-19 epicentres

This 22 December 2019 video from Germany says about itself:

The high cost of cheap meat: Dangerous slaughterhouse working conditions (4/4) | DW News

Working in a slaughterhouse is a challenging job. Shortcuts are taken to keep the price of meat down. But what is the quality of life of workers employed in German slaughterhouses and what are their working conditions? DW talked to some of them.

That was 22 December 2019. Before the coronavirus disaster.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

German meat industry, coronavirus epicentre …

The number of corona infections has been declining in Germany for weeks. But much to the chagrin of Chancellor Angela Merkel and many politicians, there is one sector that keeps causing outbreaks: the meat industry.

In Bad Bramstedt, for example, a small town north of Hamburg, a slaughterhouse of the Dutch corporation Vion is shut down because 128 workers had to be quarantined due to a coronavirus infection.

According to regional official Torsten Wendt, who has given Vion’s mainly Romanian employees house arrest, the company has tried in summary proceedings … to get the … people back to work.

In vain. …

Massive outbreaks

It is no surprise, according to the Food and Restaurant Trade Union, that employees in the meat industry across Germany have been infected with coronavirus. “It is mainly the housing several people have to live in a room and the transport with small vans that make people become infected quickly“, says Marcel Mansouri of the NGG trade union.

“Of all the vital professions in the food industry that simply continued working during Corona, we only see such massive outbreaks in the meat industry.”

The Romanians who work at the Vion site in Bad Bramstedt are housed by the employment agency DSZ in a former barracks in Kellinghusen. They are now guarded there to prevent them from quarantining and sneakingly buying groceries. …

The Romanian women are very afraid to say anything. For fear of losing their job at the corporation, but mainly because they are afraid of the virus itself. …

There are active local residents, such as Anja Halbbitter, who has been concerned about the situation of the Romanians for years. “We were so shocked to discover how people should live here that we set up a support committee. We want to show that we are there for them,” said Halbbitter.

In the Netherlands, contamination in the meat industry has also been reported. So far, 28 employees of a VION location in Scherpenzeel have been tested positive for coronavirus. …

It is unclear how many employees have or have had corona in the Dutch meat sector. They live under the same conditions as their Romanian colleagues across the German border.

Growing resistance in Germany to returning to schools as coronavirus pandemic continues. By Andy Niklaus and Carola Kleinert, 18 May 2020. Resistance is growing among German teachers and pupils against this irresponsible policy, which threatens to turn schools into new hotspots of COVID-19.

COVID-19 disaster in Trump’s USA, update

This 16 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Native Health Care Center Receives Body Bags Instead of PPE | NowThis

Workers at a Native health care center reached out to county, state, and federal agencies for more PPE and supplies to fight COVID-19 — they received body bags instead.

In US news and current events today, Abigail Echo-Hawk works for the Seattle Indian Health Board, which serves 6k American Indians and Alaska Natives. She reached out to State and Federal agencies for more PPE, but when a delivery came, the boxes only contained body bags.

This 16 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Food Sparks Rapid COVID Outbreaks

John Iadarola and Francesca Fiorentini break it down on The Damage Report.

“On April 10, Tony Thompson, the sheriff for Black Hawk County in Iowa, visited the giant Tyson Foods pork plant in Waterloo. What he saw, he said, “shook me to the core”.

Workers, many of them immigrants, were crowded elbow to elbow as they broke down hog carcasses zipping by on a conveyor belt. The few who had face coverings wore a motley assortment of bandannas, painters’ masks or even sleep masks stretched around their mouths. Some had masks hanging around their necks.

Sheriff Thompson and other local officials lobbied Tyson to close the plant, worried about a coronavirus outbreak. In an April 14 phone call, county health officials asked Tyson to shut down temporarily, Tyson said. But Tyson was “less than cooperative”, said the sheriff, who supervises the county’s coronavirus response, and Iowa’s governor declined to shut the facility.”

Read more here.

This 16 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Sanders grills health officials over the ultimate pandemic question. What was the answer he received? John Iadarola and Jordan Uhl break it down on The Damage Report.