October 2 2014, updated 8:54pm

Beekeeper to keep selling after poisoning

Last updated 15:15 27/03/2009

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A Whangamata hobbyist beekeeper who accidentally poisoned 22 people has said he will keep making and selling honey.

Projen Apiaries beekeeper Kevin John Prout was ordered to pay $3350 reparation to his unintended victims, after pleading guilty in Waihi District Court yesterday to three charges of selling contaminated honeycomb and a fourth charge over labelling of the honey.

Prout told the Waikato Times he hoped his case would alert other hobbyist hivemakers to the dangers of poisonous pollen from the tutu plant.

He said the sentence was fair and he would continue working with bees, which he called an amazing insect.

"I look forward to putting out a good, safe product again in the future," he said.

Prout's honey was sold in Whangamata on the Coromandel last Easter.

Food Safety Authority (FSA) tests found the honey, marketed as "A Taste of Whangamata Pure Honey", contained high levels of the toxic substances tutin and its derivative hyenanchin.

Prout told the court he also accidentally poisoned himself by eating the honey, becoming delirious and was hospitalised for three days.

Medical staff conducted extensive tests but failed to detect the tutin and after returning home from hospital, he packaged and sold the honeycomb.

He was unaware the honey was poisoned.

At the trial, Judge Thomas Ingram criticised the FSA, saying it was their responsibility to make sure people registering hives knew about tutin poisoning.

- NZPA

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