Some mates with … Tomás Tuma

02 Jun 2020

We spoke with Tomás Tuma, Agricultural Engineer and Quality Manager at Argenmieles who told us a bit about the certification of organic honey.

What is the history of the company?

Argenmieles is a national company that is part of the export division of Grupo Grúas San Blas S.A., a holding company with more than 30 years of experience in international trade. The company was founded in late 2010 with the aim of producing, promoting and marketing local honeys in all its presentations. We are currently exporting to more than 20 destinations in the world and we are leaders in the fractional honey trade in the country.

Where are they located?

We are diversified, the headquarters are located in Don Torcuato, Buenos Aires. There is the complex that has the main storage warehouse, primary boarding area, commercial offices, administration and a complete quality control laboratory, which receives and analyzes (physical-chemical and residual) more than 8,000 samples a year from various regions of the country. We have our own fleet of trucks and medium-sized vehicles, where all exports and dispatches are coordinated, prepared and consolidated, thus controlling the entire production chain and ensuring complete traceability to the client. In addition, the commercial area manages the purchase and sale of honey throughout the country and exports.

We are also in the province of Chaco, where the production process begins. That includes the extraction room enabled by SENASA (National Service of Agrifood Health and Quality) and where the producers are associated (with a total of five thousand certified hives for the production of organic honey). As well as the Chaco Plant, located in the Park. Industrial. Roque. Sáenz Peña “, located in the department of the same name. It was inaugurated in 2014 and is equipped with modern technology in the industrial processing of honey, and is also certified by international quality standards. In addition, at the end of 2015 we also incorporated a line of fractionation and packaging, in order to supply the growing demand of the domestic market and give greater value to Chaco production.

How is the honey production process?

It all starts in El Chaco, in El impenetrable, which is an ideal place to obtain a quality product, which is an incredible area because it has a natural environment, which is far from the intervention of man and any crop, which makes it in a perfect place to produce organic honeys.

The honey production process is accompanied by the floral cycle of Argentina. Organic honey is a natural product, totally healthy, of craftsmanship between the beekeeper and the bee (which has a very important value in beekeeping production). Then, the beekeepers harvest the honey, it is taken to the extraction rooms enabled by SENASA and they produce all the production under strict quality standards. Later, the packaging in certified drums, suitable for food and traceable by SENASA, which are finally delivered to our buyers.

What certifications do you have?

We are currently certified with True Source Certified, which is a United States certifier, which certifies the origin of honey, guaranteeing that the honey is not adulterated and is of Argentine origin. The Chaco plant is also certified with the FSSC 22000, which is the highest in terms of quality and food safety, being the only honey in the country. Also at the Buenos Aires plant we have HACCP. We also have the Argentine Food Seal for the Argenmieles and Miles del Chaco brand. And obviously we have organic certification for honey. Finally, it is important to note that our plants were audited by the United States FDA.

How important are these certifications?

Certifications are very important without a doubt. Certification today assures you and goes hand in hand with sales. Currently to supply national or international supermarkets it is essential to have a certification that supports that your product is of quality. It is also important to note that the certification assures the consumer that the product they are buying is organic, that is, that it meets a series of requirements, thus ensuring that they are consuming a quality product.

Finally, certifications are essential because they allow you to organize your work and give you the peace of mind that you are doing the job well.

What benefits does organic honey provide?

Today organic production is booming. That is why it is very important that the consumer knows its qualities. Organic honey has the following properties: honeys free of any pesticide or antibiotic that affects the product. Honey by nature is a natural product, it is an incredible source of energy for the human body, since it is quickly absorbed. When consuming honey, you are giving your body automatic energy. Honey is also associated with vitamins. All these qualities make it highly valued by consumers, especially those who need energy such as athletes.

What types of honey do they produce?

Of the conventional type, we currently handle a great variety of floriferous plants as monoflowers, currently we work with eucalyptus honey and we have projects for some more.

From the type of organic honey we work the forest honey, the Impenetrable honey, which due to its flowering predominates light colors, where the carob tree influences, where the flavor is very soft. Then the wild flowers typical of the forest bloom, darkening the honey, which has a much more intense flavor. That color difference does not detract from the quality, they are just different colors and flavors.

How do you market your production?

Currently the company is focused on exporting in bulk (that is, in the 300 kg drum), both conventional and organic honey. In the latter we have already been in force for 2 consecutive years, therefore the consumer already recognizes us as a brand. We are also gradually expanding our presence in terms of packaged honey, which is a niche to explore. Today, the best location we are finding for organic honey is bulk export, concentrated in France. And little by little we are growing in what is organic fractionation. As for the domestic market, we are working with the industry, offering organic honey in buckets for everything that is a small-scale industry such as pharmaceutical companies, for the baking of breads, etc.

Where and how can the consumer access their products?

For the local market, in terms of conventional honeys, the Mieles del Chaco brand is found in Waltmart supermarkets. Regarding organic honey, we only have the industry in buckets for industry, there they communicate with our plant and there the direct sale is made. For more information we recommend that you visit us on the web

What are the next objectives that the company has?

Currently we are only working with honey but we have projects to develop other by-products of the hive such as propolium, wax and pollen. We want to develop them little by little, we believe that we have a long way to go since we are a young company in the industry, with a staff of young people who have many projects ahead of them to continue growing and developing ideas and projections.

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