The Food Standards Agency is consulting on a New Zealand company's bid to make honeybee ­venom a novel food ingredient.

The company, Nelson Honey & Marketing, claims the venom can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis when dried and added to honey. It extracts the venom using a milking apparatus.

Although sold in New Zealand since 1996, the product must gain approval for sale in the UK as it has no significant history of use within the European Union before 1997.

The FSA has invited comments by 23 July.