Member’s update – November 2010

Member’s update – November 2010

The Executive is very pleased to present the second update on implementation of the 2010/11 business plan. We understand that beekeeping activities are in full swing at the moment and we wish you all the best for the season.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the Executive or our General Manager, John Rawcliffe.

Best wishes

AMHA Executive


Peter Luxton, the Commissioner, has signed the contract of appointment. This was done at the last Executive meeting on the 11th of November. A brief overview of his role:

  • Independent of the Executive
  • Initial adjudications over disputes
  • Deals with confidential matters between the Executive and Licence holders
  • Overview of the application of Policy by the General Manager 

Peter’s contact details are: tel: 07 544 6647; First point of contact for complaints/concerns by licence holders

mob: 021 447 944; email:

Left to right Peter Luxton, Neil Stuckey Signing Contract for service 11th November 2010

Independent Audits by AsureQuality

From the 1st of December, the audit programme to be provided by AsureQuality will be starting. As previously described, this programme provides complete independence and promotional opportunities. We are still yet to confirm what promotional statements we can use and will be sending an official notice about the audit programme and requirements in early December.



The AMHA Pamphlet, which will be provided to you in various language options, has been signed off by the Executive for design and polishing. The Executive will view the final proof for approval in early December. This pamphlet is part of a major Association strategy based on educating the marketplace over the UMF® quality mark.

It was of interest to read in the NBA Magazine about the promotion of a product that when used in beekeeping practices (Manuka Booster) is clearly adulteration. AMHA has already commissioned a research programme to assist in detection of adulteration. This research project is based at Auckland University and aims to have methods to potentially be used internationally by testing facilities. The project has become a major priority, not only for AMHA, but also protecting the New Zealand position in a world market. For the testing of Non-Peroxide Activity, AMHA will be announcing the laboratories to be used in Singapore and the UK in the near future.

The Executive have written to the NBA in response to the Manuka Booster advertisement in the November issue of the New Zealand Beekeeping Magazine. The full response is at the end of this update.

Way Wua Wang at the Auckland University Preparing to Start work on the Research project

AMHA Annual General Meeting

The 2011 AGM will be held alongside the National Beekeeping Conference. This decision was made by the Executive as the NBA conference is being held in Auckland. The actual date and time will be announced in due course.

The following data presents aggregate test results from NZ Labs and Hills Laboratories for the year ended 30th September 2010.

2010 Marketplace Audits

This year we have completed marketplace audits in Japan and Singapore, these were targeted in the 2010/11 business plan. The results under the UMF® quality trademark were very pleasing and individual licence holders have been informed of their results. We took on a major brand audit in the Japanese market, your support in this was very much appreciated. The key outcome from this was to ensure all product sold bearing the UMF® trademark was under the control of a licence holder. The final follow-up on the Japanese market audit will be completed before the end of the year. We issued a number of Cease and Desist letters and the Executive requires a completion sign-off on each one.

There is still significant work to do in positioning AMHA in such a way that we are clear in our messages behind the trademark and the Executive looks forward to working with you to realise a contiguous marketing platform


AMHA Response to Manuka Booster Advertisement.

In the November 2010 issue of the Beekeeper magazine, page 16, there was an advertisement about a product called Manuka Booster. The Active Manuka Honey Association has three key concerns over this advertisement.

  1. The advertisement used the trademark UMF®. This trademark is registered to the Active Manuka Honey Association and the people involved in the advertisement were not licensed to use the mark. We have acted accordingly to protect the rights of AMHA’s licence holders and the company has agreed to only use NPA (non- peroxide activity) in the future.
  2. A more immediate concern for the New Zealand beekeeping industry is the use of any additive, be it through feedstock or directly added to the honey, to artificially increase the level of non peroxide activity. The addition of Methylglyoxal, DHA, sugars, any other chemical or excessive heating for any reason is clearly in breach of the Codex Alimentarius definition of honey and is classified as adulteration. AMHA has allocated resources in this year’s budget to determine methods of detection for any added material. It is also working with laboratories overseas not only to test for levels of non peroxide activity but for any adulteration as well.
  3. The third concern is that advertisements of this nature can compromise the hard work that the NZ beekeeping industry does to maintain the integrity of our clean, green brand in international markets.  Claims like those in this advertisement have the potential to raise doubt over the quality of New Zealand honey, and that’s something we all need to avoid.

The danger to the New Zealand industry where honey can be exported in bulk and adulterated in overseas markets, or overseas honey can be adulterated and then claimed to have the same properties as New Zealand honey, is very real. Science has opened the door to some answers as to the complex nature behind Manuka honey but has far from the full picture of how it works. The snippets of information we have can allow anyone (in the case of the cited advertisement a German chemist) to imitate activity markers like Methylglyoxal in the honey. We don’t want to go down the track the dairy industry went down; protection against fraudulent activity, adulteration and counterfeiting will always require a proactive approach when New Zealand honeys fetch higher retail margins than other honeys.

Honey is a natural product from the nectar of flowers; the Quality Trademark UMF® has its foundation in ensuring that honey on retail shelves is true to its origin, true to its label claim and true in its composition.

John Rawcliffe
For and on behalf of the AMHA Executive

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