20 Apr 2019

Mānuka honey regulatory definition throws industry into turmoil

2:26 pm on 20 April 2019

The Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) regulatory definition of mānuka honey has thrown the honey industry into turmoil and European authorities are beginning to notice there's something wrong, a Northland honey expert says.

Manuka South.

Photo: Manuka South / Supplied

Dr John Craig, a veteran beekeeper and former professor of environmental studies, said the ministry's challenged the industry to prove that its definition needs to change.

But he said the ministry's own research has already done that.

Dr Craig said MPI arbitrarily upped the required level of one chemical marker in mānuka honey from one to five.

That meant the entire mānuka honey crop in one region failed to meet the definition, he said.

And in another case, the nectar from mānuka flowers also failed the test, which he said is clearly a nonsense.

The International Honey Commission now has concerns about the anomalies in the MPI definition and will discuss them at a meeting in Malta next month, Dr Craig said.