7 Mar 2015

Research to safeguard manuka industry

11:16 am on 7 March 2015

Manuka honey producers have commissioned scientists to find a way to protect the multi-million-dollar export business from counterfeiters.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey.

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association has commissioned the chemists to develop a "chemical fingerprint" for manuka honey.

They will be looking for unique compounds so the honey can be tracked back to the nectar produced in specific areas.

One of the scientists, Australian chemistry lecturer, Peter Brooks, said global demand for the anti-bacterial honey has driven up prices, and attracted so much fraud that there's probably two or three times more manuka honey being sold in international markets than is actually being produced in New Zealand.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs