Wednesday 6 October 2010

Honey - I miss you

On September 30th at Auckland Airport, New Zealand security confiscated  two jars of Manuka Honey, each weighing  500 gm, from my hand luggage.  I was perplexed because I had not seen any notice at the Airport to inform me that honey is a restricted item, like knives, sharp instruments and all forms of liquid.

I had the gall to ask the officer why and I was brusquely told it's a gel.  A gel??   He then took the two jars and another 250gm jar  and   chucked them into the bin.  When the spouse inquired if they were to be given away to a  charity  he was curtly told that they would be thrown away.  It was sad I thought.  Three jars of nature's health food, made and packed in NZ were destined for the rubbish bin - this in a country that is religiously concerned with and practices a high standard of conserving and recycling.  I wonder what the bees'  Union has to say about this wastage!

When I got home I decided to check up on how honey could be linked to a potential  act of terrorism.  The key words were hydrogen peroxide  (H2O2).   Honey had the capacity to produce small amounts of this  'lethal stuff' which is commonly found in cleaning agents like bleach.  But it was precisely H2O2 which made honey ideal for treating infected wounds and other bacterial disorders.

But then, hydrogen peroxide was said to be one of the ingredients in the bombs that failed to explode in the July 21, 2005 London bombs and since then honey has been damned and banned.

So I guess I should  grin and bear the seizure of my three jars of honey - for the safety of  air travellers. 
But  these  incidents only caused me greater confusion.

Firstly,  why was I told that  I  could make up my 'loss' by buying honey at the duty-free shop  at the departure lounge!   What is the difference between honey bought at the Airport's duty-free lounge and those  purchased at bona fide  Supermarkets like Pak N Save  and  Tourist shops  outside of the Airport?

Secondly,  when I started unpacking at home, guess what I found in my handbag which had gone through the same machine as the hand luggage?

The One That Got Away

Now this is the most unkind cut of all.
While the contents of my hand luggage were being rummaged,  next to us at the counter was Todd,  ( we caught his name from the tag of his hand luggage.) a New Zealander in his mid-thirties.  Todd's problem was rather different.  He had in his hand luggage a vicious-looking  work knife - steel, folding, and almost 6 inches long and a large bunch of wire.

Our honey was summarily disposed of with no questions asked.  Todd's bag of tricks, however, seemed open to lengthy negotiation.  When we left the counter, bereft of three honey jars, the Security officer was still opening and closing the knife, trying to decide what to do with it ( and the equally potent bunch of wire) and patiently listening to Todd pleading to be allowed to keep his toys.

Well, honey chile ............"If you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, then it is a liquid, gel, or aerosol" according to the (USA)  Transportation Security Administration.

P.S.  I'm having a wee bit of trouble with this new post editor.  If you can't get the video please click  "Read more" at the bottom.  Hope it works. HELP!


Awang Goneng said...

Hiya Sis!

It's madness alright. I have heard of honey being a carrier of disease (bees throughout the known world are dying) but never that it could be used by terrorists to turn themselves peroxide blonde.

Did you know that your home state, Singapurr, has been re-exporting honey from China as Made in Temasek? Well, here's the nub, honey from China has been given the pariah treatment by honey lovers everywhere because i) Chinese honey is allegedly diseased ii)and then they got carried away with the antibiotics.

Manuka? Do you think it's got the special oomph? I rather doubt it. Just an over-priced marketing trick I suspect. Just stick to the one from Temasek. If the honey doesn't do it, you can at least fall back on the antibiotics. Belt and braces as they used to say in the classics.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you AG

Lovely to hear from you. What's the weather like in Inger-Land?

You are right, and right on most scores. BUT I'm now an ex-Singaporean. However I have never seen the island as separate from the Malay Peninsula. Both have been mine. The passport I carry is just a formality. I am first and foremost a Malay and an AsH.

Indeed nothing coming out of Singapore surprises me. Just look at this one specimen ha ha!

You are very, very right. This elevation of manuka honey is just a con and a big hype. I wanted it for the 'flavour' and I love the flowers and also I'm a sucker for the hype?? But it is lovely on white bread - no,no it should go with wholemeal bread as the health extremists would advise.

Why can't we produce our own 'bunga tahi ayam' (chicken shit flower) honey and hype it as natural and wild. The health fanatics would love it.

But I'm rambling - get me the belts and braces. And - a tight leash - says the spouse.

You won't believe this. My word verification is 'melesit'.

imsunnysideup said...

Thats ok AsH . That man is only doing his duty. He'd probably saved the world from another explosion anywhere from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur. I am sure his hoping that the media could 'catch' himthrowing your three jars of honey into the bin. A hero like that certainly deserved the publicity.

By the way , was there a name tag on the bin....i mean just in case it has the name of New Zealand anti-terrorist hero !

ph said...

Explosives make from honey and pumpkin custard !!! This i like to see when it explodes - KA-BOOMzz !!! Yummy !!

Anonymous said...

A disappointing loss, but a confiscation based on international air rules regarding gels or viscous substances. Even a small nation like New Zealand would have to comply with these.
The danger is not in the properties of the honey but in what the honey could have been replaced with. The replacement substance then mixed later in the cabin with another substance to create an explosion. If it had been placed in the hold the potential danger would have been eliminated as it could not have been mixed.
Buying from the duty free inside an airport gives some guarantee to the authorities that no tampering has occurred.

“Active” manuka honey has proven healing properties and is used therapeutically in hospitals USA and UK. It is FDA recognized. A +15 UMF [potency] equates to 15% phenol and has therapeutic uses in treating MRSA, leg ulcers, skin lesions and more. Both fungal and bacterial.
Active honey is distinct from bulk supermarket supplies as not all manuka honey has the active ingredient which comes from the plant the bees collect the honey from. Not all manuka plants contain the ingredient.
Honey has been used through the centuries for internal and external healing.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Anonymous October 9 for the comment.

However these questions remain.

1.NZ holds a prominent position in the export market as a producer of 'pure' honey worth NZ$71 per year.
Together with kiwi fruit and sheepskin rugs, the highly publicised (or well-hyped?) manuka honey is much sought after by tourists to take home as a 'health' souvenir.

However, as a major (or the only?) exporter of manuka honey, it is beholden upon NZ to publicise the information, to all travellers, foreign and home-grown, that the carriage of honey carries a security warning label.

This should be posted where ever honey is sold and especially at International Airports during arrival and departure. NZ is very strict about goods that are not allowed entry into the country. By the same token the 'export' of honey in hand luggage should be given the same publicity.

2. Indeed, right from ancient times, honey's healing powers were well documented. During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, honey was much used for its anti-bacterial properties. And this was yonks before manuka honey and FDA ratings and UMF labels entered the market.

3.It is commendable that a small country like NZ faithfully practises the security strictures of international air travel and thus ensures the safety of all passengers departing NZ's International Airports.

However, how did one jar of honey elude detection by the very same machine?

More disappointing than the confiscation of the honey is the different treatment given to honey and a 6-inch knife by the security officers.

4. Finally, why should anyone feel secure about the absence of tampering in the duty-free shops when the above sloppy inconsistencies can occur.

As passengers, we are all very happy to comply with rules that ensure the security of all during air travel. But in this case of honey and NZ security, dare we hope that they treat all passengers as thinking and responsible adults?

Raden Rohaya Lopez said...

From what I was told those customs actually keep the confiscated food item for themselves, bastard! The best thing to do is smash the item infront of them....if you cannot have them, why should they????
AG, thank you for the info on Manuka products.. will pass it on to some dear frenz!!!
P/S Have you heard about the date and the honey?

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Roy,

Pray tell me about the date and honey.

You are right about the 'confiscation' . There should be a policy about puncturing such items in front of the 'wrongdoer' so that passengers could be assured that no one on the other side of the counter profits .

I wonder what could they do with non-edibles like a second-hand knife and a bunch of wires?

anak si-hamid said...

Dear sunnysideup,

Name tags for bins? - jolly good idea. Then they can all retrieve their booty.

And ph,
I recalled what happened to your mum's cake. Could somebody some where be burping?

anak si-hamid said...

Correction in my reply to Anonymous October 9

The export of 'pure' honey is worth NZ$71 MILLION per year, not NZ$71.

imsunnysideup said...

Anon 9.34 am.
Thanks for he info.
If everything you say is true, shouldn't honey be completely banned banned ?

I mean , heaven help us if supermarket workers have reasons to be angry with anything or anyone ?

It should be treated worse than drugs !!!!

Possession of honey would be equivalent to possession of any ingredients that can help in the creation of an explosive compound ?

I still don't understand the rationale of considering honey as safe on the the land , and a banned substance in he air based on the reasons given.

Awang Goneng said...

Honey, I'm back.

Before I get further into the merde about this Manuka honey, let me explain.

I love honey for its taste, the rest is a bonus. (There is actually a school thought that thinks that honey can actually do you harm, but let's take the middle ground and say it's OK in moderation). I dislike Manuka because manukaing (if there be such a verb) tastes like eating sand.

And then I read these reports:

1. [Stick to the Manuka, just ignore the strange comments at the bottom]


Manuka is not actually found only in NZ. There's Manuka in South Kangaroo Land too. Over there manuka is known as the tea tree. OK let's botanically precise, the manuka is its cousin. In fact some people call the tea tree the 'real' manuka. But they're proably not from N Zealand.

Most honeys have antibacterial qualities. In fact, the nay sayers as far as honey is concerned say that bees make honey for themselves to eat, so they 'enrich' it with a poison that can only be neutralised in their own digestive system. But honey tastes good, so just eat lah, especially on hot buttered scones. I've not seen anyone die from that yet. Otherwise, the Savoy tea room would be full of dead Duchesses at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

My point abt Temasek honey wasn't connected to Manuka. China re-exports much of its honey (shunned by most of the world) through various outposts, Temasek being one of them (the other is Kangaroo Land). Just as Hadiklaim, the date growers on stolen West Bank land, re-exports their dates (Medjool) through Temasek as Jordan River during Ramadhan for the delectation of Muslims. There're probably more bees in Temasek than date palms, but never mind, too much dabbling in this can make your under-bonnet swarm.

Honey should be taken raw. Heating kills most or all of its beneficial enzymes. Most honeys sold in shops have been heat-treated to kill le germs (supposedly), but real germs don't thrive in real honey, ma'am. Most 'organic' honeys you see in the shops have been heat-treated, so how do we make sure that the organic ones are really organic? It's a jungle out there, never mind the hives.

And then, don't give honey to children below 1. Ok, ok, I know we Muslims use it for 'belah mulut', but that's just a teeny weeny bit as a foretaster of life's sweetness, what. But feed it to them on, say, buttered scone, you may be asking for the ambulance. The iron in honey can do the poor dears a lot of harm.

Re FDA, I don't know if they've approved manuka honey, but they did give their seal of approval to some dresswings injected with this manuka substance. Re honey's healing properties, plse see report in the second url above. Btw, is this the same FDA that approved aspartame?

I talk too much, yah? Ok I'll buzz off then.