Today’s announcement of a formal definition for Mānuka honey roundly ignores industry feedback, National’s Food Safety spokesperson David Bennett says.

“The new Minister for Primary Industries has today announced the definition for multifloral and monofloral Mānuka honey.

“Damien O’Connor has announced that ‘the final scientific definition for Mānuka honey is made up of a combination of four chemical markers derived from nectar and one DNA marker from Mānuka pollen’.  

“But that definition excludes a chemical test for Leptosperin that the honey industry currently uses in its existing tests, and that they strongly advocated for inclusion in the Ministry test during its consultation period.

“The Minister excluded Leptopserin as he believes it dilutes over time. But he needs to show what proof he has of that dilution and the time that the dilution takes.

“To exclude Leptosperin is to put at risk existing industry tests for Mānuka honey. Using the Minister’s explanation of why he has removed Leptosperin raises the question as to how much Mānuka honey that is currently available on the market has been subject to the Minister’s dilution factor, and therefore cannot be sold as Mānuka honey under either the Ministry or the industry tests.

“MPI has worked for a number of years to develop the standard announced today, and I’ll watch with interest how industry responds to the new definition,” Mr Bennett says.  

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