The real deal: Legalising the manuka honey name

Rural Exchange 04/02/2018

The line had to be drawn in the sand somewhere. 

We're talking about the level of the chemical marker that means you can call manuka honey legally ‘manuka honey’.

Karin Kos, chief executive of Apiculture NZ joined Rural Exchange to explain the protection of the ‘manuka’ brand.

She says the move is a world first.

We're the only country in the world to have a government regulated definition for manuka honey.

"So it's a pretty significant milestone," she said.

"And I think it would be fair to say that this industry has grown over the last 10 years, very rapidly.

"We're always very keen to have a robust and defendable definition. We wanted our consumers to have confidence that when they bought New Zealand manuka, it was the real deal."

Kos told Rural Exchange honey is a very "scientific product."

"The science definition means we can determine the authenticity of the honey, whether it's manuka or not.

"And it really applies to all honey that's labeled as manuka for export, and it's got to be tested by an MPI recognised lab to make sure it passes the new definition," she said.

The new definition is made up of five markers, Karin Kos told RadioLIVE.

"That's four chemicals for nectar and one DNA marker from manuka pollen.

"So that really allows us to separate manuka honey from other honey types, [which is] very important," she said.

Listen to the full interview with Karin Kos above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.