17 Jul 2013

Hong Kong consumer body questions NZ manuka honey

2:34 pm on 17 July 2013

The New Zealand honey industry has rejected claims made in Hong Kong that some manuka honey has had sugar added.

The Hong Kong Consumer council tested 55 brands of honey sold in Hong Kong, and said it found 14 had been adulterated with sugar.

Eight are New Zealand manuka honey products and at least four were produced by New Zealand companies.

The council said it was sure if bees accessed sugar during pollination or if the companies added it illegally during the manufacturing process. It is leaving any potential enforcement action to Hong Kong customs.

A group representing New Zealand producers, the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, disputes the results.

General manager John Rawcliffe said the testing method used often produces inaccurate results and he has raised his concerns with the council.

Mr Rawcliffe said no New Zealand producers add sugar to their manuka honey and their products have passed rigorous testing.

He says the authorities in Hong Kong prefer to use a traditional test, but his organisation will try to explain that new manuka honey tests developed in New Zealand are robust.