Member’s Update – November 2013

The UMF Honey Association is well underway with the critical foundation research project that will underpin the UMF quality mark going forward. This involves sophisticated, state-of-the-art chemical profiling to accurately determine what Manuka and other New Zealand mono-floral honeys actually are. This will ultimately provide enhanced integrity in the UMF quality mark and greater protection for consumers. It is the biggest project that the Association has ever undertaken, and is committing most of its resources to this task. The collection process will include collecting nectar from the plant, and pure Manuka from the controlled hives.

Man trying to mimic nature

The collection of authentic and pure nectar samples is a laborious job. The dedication required to mimic the bee’s collection is a challenge.

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Dr Jonathan Stephens collecting nectar from the Manuka Bush, October 2013

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Collecting nectar from the Manuka flower

Project Implementation

The scope of the “Manuka ID” Project includes collecting pure and authentic Manuka samples from nectar, the bee, and the hive within various regions in New Zealand. These samples will then be analysed using high resolution mass spectrometry.

In early 2013, the UMF Honey Association commissioned a pilot study using a range of New Zealand mono-floral honeys. The study was very successful at identifying a unique chemical profile not only for Manuka, but also other New Zealand mono-floral honeys, including Kanuka.

The outcomes for this project are:

  • Identification of individual mono-floral honeys
  • Identification of the constituent biological activity in individual honeys
  • Ensuring the natural integrity of the honey
  • Ensuring that UMF Manuka honey is genuine
  • Ensuring informed choice and assurance to the customer
  • Providing the platform to grow NZ Honey to a half billion dollar industry
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