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Bees at a cluster of apiaries in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M's processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause.

Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colourful substances that have turned their honey unnatural shades.

Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4km (2.5 miles) away has been processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&M's, bite-sized candies in bright red, blue, green, yellow and brown shells.

The unsellable honey is a new headache for around a dozen affected beekeepers already dealing with high bee mortality rates and dwindling honey supplies following a harsh winter, said Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists' union.

Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers.

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Beekeepers in France were confused after their bees produced honey in mysterious shades of blue and green.

But now the mystery has been solved as its now believed residue from containers of M&M's candy processed at a nearby biogas plant n northeastern France is the cause.

Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colourful substances that have turned their honey unnatural shades.

Determined to solve the mystery the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km (2.5 miles) away has been processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&M's, bite-sized candies in bright red, blue, green, yellow and brown shells.

The unsellable honey is a new headache for around a dozen affected beekeepers already dealing with high bee mortality rates and dwindling honey supplies following a harsh winter, said Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists' union.

Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers.

'We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,' Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor, told Reuters.

He said the company had cleaned its containers and incoming waste would now be stored in a covered hall.

Mars operates a chocolate factory near Strasbourg, around 100 km (62 miles) away from the affected apiaries.

Bee numbers have been rapidly declining around the world in the last few years and the French government has banned a widely used pesticide, Cruiser OSR, that one study has linked to high mortality rates.

France is one of the largest producers of honey within the European Union, producing some 18,330 tonnes annually, according to a recent audit conducted for national farm agency FranceAgriMer.

Ribeauville, situated on a scenic wine route southwest of Strasbourg, is best known for its vineyards.

But living aside winemakers are about 2,400 beekeepers in Alsace who tend some 35,000 colonies and produce about 1,000 tonnes of honey per year, according to the region's chamber of agriculture.

As for the M&M's-infused honey, union head Frieh said it might taste like honey, but there the comparison stopped.

'For me, it's not honey. It's not sellable.'

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oh comeon, sell it as a novelty.

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Sell it to Mars so they can market it as M&Ms Honey.

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oh comeon, sell it as a novelty.

Exactly what I thought, if it tastes like honey then it will sell even if it is just as a novelty. No point in letting it go to waste and losing out on it.

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can we actually prove this is what happened, or did he somehow color it and claim that is what happened?

and why hasn't this happened in the USA also? we have M&M plants here also around honey farms

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Sell it to Mars so they can market it as M&Ms Honey.

You do have a point - some of their products do contain honey.... let them buy up their botched storage...

I would actually buy blue and red honey -- not sure about the green though-

that is about as bad as the St. Patrick's ketchup ....

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M&M's ? Those bees must be high 24/7. :p

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Maybe the bees just decided it was time to make their hive more colorful.

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I would pay more for some crazy coloured honey...this is all about survival of the fittest and im telling you these bees will be better looked after than those dull normal honey producing bees :p

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M&M honey would now be a great idea.

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God damn you beat me to it ...

Hum never sleeps :ninja:

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The unsellable honey is a new headache for around a dozen affected beekeepers already dealing with high bee mortality rates and dwindling honey supplies following a harsh winter, said Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists' union.

I'm sure it would sell fine if it were marketed right.

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