3 April 2019
An official scientific definition for New Zealand's Manuka honey, a billion-dollar nationwide industry, was created by The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2017 based on the levels of four marker chemicals and the presence of Manuka pollen DNA. But not all Manuka honey producers and apiaries are celebrating with the new rule that governs what could be legally sold as Manuka honey. Here's why.
The new definition of Manuka honey is a whammy for the small Northland Manuka beekeepers, even though their bees forage almost exclusively on Manuka, and that they produce Manuka with the highest UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) in the country. This is because one of the chemical markers for their Manuka honey, 2-Methoxyacetophenone, is of a different level from the required. With the authenticity test now defining their honey as "non-Manuka", their top-grade manuka honey, which previously could command up to $70 per kg, is now worth as little as $18 per kg.
What appears to be even more unjustified is, big producers could afford to purchase Northland Manuka honey in bulk at low price and then mix it with clover honey in order to make it meet the criteria and pass the tests as multiflora Manuka honey.
The Northland Manuka producers are complaining and appealing for change in the law. The MPI is well aware of the regional differences in the chemical makeup of the honey, about how the Northland Manuka producers have been stung by huge financial losses, and how this has caused jobs to be on the line, but at the moment, it is not amending the rule of authenticating Manuka honey.
News Source: Maori Beekeepers Could Have Been Making Half A Million.
1. What is the big deal about UMF Manuka honey? UMF Manuka Honey And Its Big Price Tag
2. Why does Manuka honey command such an exorbitant price? Find out in: The Miraculous Manuka Honey.
3. Confused by the activity ratings of Manuka UMF, Active, Total Activity, MGO, and NPA? Read: Manuka UMF and Other Activity Terms Explained