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The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is advising beekeepers to separate red honey from natural honey in their hives and to report the colored product to state officials.

The advisory comes after the department received several complaints about the presence of the red honey occurring in bee hives located in areas of Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties.

Red honey likely stems from bees being fed a by-product from a candy cane factory.

Officials are investigating the safety of red honey, "but we have no reason to believe the product is unsafe," said department spokesman Larry Lewis.

The Division of Regulatory Services also is determining if the product is in violation of the Utah Honey Standard of Identity Act, which identifies honey as a product that originates from a floral source.

The Agriculture Department is advising Utah beekeepers to report any red honey in their hives to state Apiarist Dave Basinger (