25 Aug 2013

Britain warns about fake NZ honey

5:20 pm on 25 August 2013

Britain's Food Standards Agency has issued a nationwide warning about misleading and illegal claims on the labels of New Zealand honey, after tests revealed many manuka honey products have none of the claimed active properties.

The honey industry is estimated to be worth $120 million a year to New Zealand.

The New Zealand Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, which represents New Zealand manuka honey processing companies, says it is well known that New Zealand sells more manuka honey than it produces, but the industry has failed to deal with that.

Association head John Rawcliffe says a crackdown on the fake manuka had to happen.

He says after much delay, his organisation has come up with a testing regime that will help consumers identify the real thing from a fake.

Mr Rawcliffe says it is a pity the association was not more proactive earlier, but collecting samples and testing is costly.

He says the association is now working with other countries to put in the appropriate testing and will be authenticating that testing this summer.

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Primary Industries says it will come up with a definition of manuka honey that is internationally agreed on and backed up by robust science.