22 Dec 2008

Legal action looms in honey dispute

1:32 pm on 22 December 2008

The honey company Watson & Son will press ahead with legal action against the Active Manuka Honey Association, despite losing an appeal for an interim injunction.

The association has threatened to terminate the company's licence to use Unique Manuka Factor or UMF trademarks on its products and to order a product recall.

The dispute arose when tests done on some of Watson & Son's manuka honey products in the UK showed they did not have the anti-bacterial strength claimed on the label.

The company says variation in testing results could produce a lower reading, and points out that fewer than 1% of the hundreds of batches it's put into the market have been challenged.

While it has lost its appeal for an interim injunction, it says it will go ahead with the main case challenging the Active Manuka Honey Association's actions.

In the meantime, Watson & Son says it's resigned from the association. It has almost completed developing an alternative standard for anti-bacterial measurement in manuka honey, which it expects to be recognised internationally.