31 Jan 2019

Manuka honey producer charged in landmark case

6:51 pm on 31 January 2019

Court action has been filed against an Auckland honey producer whose products were pulled from the market in 2016.

It is the first such prosecution ever filed against a producer of Manuka Honey.

The manufacturer - Evergreen Life Ltd - and its manager will face charges at North Shore District Court on 14 February.

Manuka honey.

The manufacturer of Evergreen Life face charges of adulteration. Photo: Supplied / MPI

Manuka Honey is lauded for its health benefits - due partly to an omega acid called DHA and an antacid known as MGO.

Manuka Honey producers often rate their product by the amount of MGO contained within it.

But Evergreen Life has been accused of adding synthetic versions of these compounds to its product.

In 2016, 18 honey lines manufactured by the company were ordered from the market by food safety officials.

In a court sequel, 71 charges alleging adulteration have been filed against the company.

The most serious carries maximum penalties of five years' imprisonment or a $500,000 fine.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said little about the case because it's now before the courts.

Attempts to get a response from Evergreen Life were unsuccessful.

There was no reply from its Albany office.

In addition, few records have been filed to the Companies Office, and RNZ understands the owners left the country some time ago.