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September 10, 2013

New Zealand Government steps in to set standards for Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey Standards

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand yesterday released for comment an outline of a plan for setting standards for what can be claimed as "Manuka Honey".  The monofloral standard, and rules about how the bio-activity of Manuka Honey are stated on labels has been a long standing point of contention within the industry.  The bee products standards council, an industry group has been working on this issue for several years without success in bringing the industry together around a standard.  We welcome this move by MPI.  Our predisposition is to want less vs. more government intervention in business.  However, this is clearly a case where an industry had tried but failed to regulate itself.  The reputation of New Zealand honey in the worldwide market is on the line if anyone is making misleading claims regarding their honey.  Further, New Zealand enjoys a very strong worldwide agricultural reputation for quality and integrity, which could be tarnished by unscrupulous players, or foreign imitators.  We plan to provide comment to this plan and look forward to a good standard being set in this area.  If you are interested in a behind the scenes look at the industry & this topic, follow this link to read the "Options For Defining Monofloral Manuka Honey" document.