World First Move to Scientifically Classify Mānuka Honey Could Help Prevent Fraud

World First Move to Scientifically Classify Mānuka Honey Could Help Prevent Fraud

A New Zealand honey association has praised the discovery of a new method of classifying valuable manuka honey, saying it will clamp down on fraud.

The highest grades of manuka honey can resell in export market for as much as $150 a kilogram, and producers are used to dealing with falsely-labelled and knock-off products on the market.

Now, scientists have made unique profiles of all of New Zealand’s manuka producing flowers, and established a method for classifying the genuine product.

Unique Manuka Honey Association’s John Rawcliffe said it will sure up confidence in the authentic product and the companies producing it.

“The honey industry is heading towards the same presentation as the wine industry, it also gives the wine grower and now the bee keepers the ability to say ‘I can represent my region and the unique characteristics behind, I can stand by the monoflorality and I can stand behind how I express that’.

“So honey is becoming the next wine.”

The method identifies the unique properties of manuka by chemically profiling the honey.

It’s a technique that can be applied to all unique floral honeys, such as Western Australia’s Jarrah honey.

“Every country getting into this is able to identify the uniqueness of their own floral plant, and verify its come from their region.”

Australia’s largest producer and exporter of honey, Capilano Honey already undertakes vigorous testing of all its honey varieties.

Managing director Ben McKee said while the company had experienced low levels of trademark fraud in the past, it was frustrating when it did occur.

“We’ve seen products labelled as Capilano in Asian markets that certainly were not ours.

“Regarding specialist brands like manuka, where some products might not contain 100 per cent of the authentic product despite being labelled, we can do a number of tests to verify the honey is conforming to the way its labelled.

“The most often happens in markets where people are trying to sell an inferior product.”

This article was published by ABC Rural, 11 August 2016