13 Sep 2013

Consultation begins over manuka honey definition

6:27 am on 13 September 2013

The Government has begun a consultation process to develop compulsory labelling for manuka honey.

It follows complaints in overseas markets about false labelling and misleading claims about the unique New Zealand honey.

The honey industry has been unable to agree on a standard definition for manuka and there's no single international standard either.

The New Zealand Bee Products Standards Council planned to introduce an interim guideline, but that's been set aside by the Government consultation process.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will be asking the honey industry, scientists and other stakeholders for their views before drawing up draft labelling guidelines that will be referred back to them before they are finalised.

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said the ministry has been asked to look at regulations covering compulsory labelling for manuka honey.

That will take several months so there will be a voluntary labelling system in the meantime.