Members Update – Certification Trademark 2016

Certification Trademark for the descriptor ‘Manuka Honey’ has generated widespread local and international media coverage lately.

The move to trademark the name is a home-grown initiative aimed at ensuring that the term is only used on genuine Manuka Honey produced in New Zealand.

It was inevitable that there would be a backlash from competitors seeking to ride a wave of success, as demand for New Zealand Manuka Honey continues to soar internationally.

Aside from the naysayers, the reaction from key stakeholders – New Zealand producers and consumers worldwide – to the certification trademark has been overwhelmingly positive. The reason for this is simple: people have come to appreciate Manuka Honey as being a distinctive honey from New Zealand that has unique attributes and benefits. Manuka is, after all, a Maori word that is universally used within New Zealand (Leptospermum scoparium). It is this plant that yields the distinctive nectar collected and transformed by bees into Manuka Honey with its highly sought after Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®) characteristics.

While this legal application has been initiated by the UMF Honey Association (UMFHA) and continues to  be championed by the organisation, the  application is being filed under the auspices of the Manuka Honey Appellation Society Incorporated (MHAS). This Society was established with the sole purpose of ensuring ownership of the name Manuka Honey was secured for New Zealand honey producers and the wider industry as a whole. Membership of the MHAS  is open to anyone and, once secured, use of the descriptor Manuka Honey will be available to anyone for use on genuine Manuka Honey produced in New Zealand.

Why is this being done?

The move is fundamental to protecting an internationally recognised premium product that is unique to New Zealand. We are seeking to secure similar protection granted to other producers around the world such as: French Champagne, Scottish Whisky and Cornish Pasties.

The increasing global demand for Manuka Honey is resulting in a variety of other honeys from different parts of the world claiming to be Manuka Honey.

Genuine Manuka Honey is sourced from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium which is found almost exclusively in New Zealand.

Furthermore, the word ‘Manuka’ is a Maori name which in itself should be protected for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

It is vital that we safeguard this heritage and the provenance of such an iconic honey which is so intrinsically identified as being from New Zealand.

The filing for a Certification Trademark covering the ‘Manuka Honey’ name, is based on feedback from industry stakeholders and increasingly from consumers and regulatory authorities overseas.

Securing the name will give consumers greater confidence that honey purchased anywhere in the world which bears the Manuka Honey name will be what it claims to be – sourced from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium from New Zealand.

The Certification Trademark would be openly available to everyone for use on genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey. Ownership of the Certification Trademark will be vested in an independent entity to protect it in perpetuity for the benefit of all industry participants.

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