What exactly is manuka honey? The Ministry for Primary Industries is hoping to have a precise definition within the next year to 18 months.
In recent months demand for manuka honey has boomed and so have prices, but within that, issues of false labelling have emerged.
Some honey producers said there were no real standards or regulations in New Zealand to assess the product.
The Primary Production Select Committe called on MPI deputy director general Scott Gallacher this morning for an update on what it is doing, as the regulator, to make sure consumers here and overseas can have confidence that the honey is authentic and true to label.
A science programme was underway to ensure manuka honey would have a national consistency, he said.
"In the last two to three years, there's been a huge work programme, in that we've actually issued initial guidelines giving industry clarity on how they can label manuka honey and how they should think about it.
"What we're aiming to do in the next 12 to 18 months is to conclude a significant science programme which we've undertaken, which is world leading, which is going to for the very first time come up with a precise definition for manuka honey, and then also to give overseas markets every confidence that we know when we talk about manuka honey what are the characteristics associated with that," he said.
"In the last two to three years, the Ministry for Primary Industries has been really working with industry to make sure that everyone has absolute clarity as to our expectations for what people can sell as manuka honey, but more particularly the sort of claims that are associated with that product.
"In some instances, we have actually withdrawn official assurances for some products when we've had a concern that people are asserting something that is not justified or allowed to go on their label."