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Manuka Honey Story Sunday Times and NZ Herald 25 August 2013

Sunday, 25 August 2013  |  Admin

On Sunday 25th August 2013 there have been two notable news articles on concerns over the quality of manuka honey sold to consumers internationally. One article has been on page 5 of the UK's Sunday Times, the other in the New Zealand Herald.

They have highlighted concerns and industry information that suggests significantly more 'manuka' honey is sold each year than what is actually harvested. They also note that the UK's Food Standards Agency has issued a national notice to Trading Standards departments to more closely inspect labels of manuka honey on shop shelves.

As the Sunday Times correctly points out, most honeys have some form of activity known as 'peroxide activity'. But that genuine manuka honey has a unique additional antimicrobial action known as its 'non-peroxide activity'.

We would like to point out that research has shown the peroxide activity to not be stable and to dissipate over time, whilst the special non-peroxide activity remains stable in the honey. It is this extra non-peroxide activity that the reputation of manuka honey is based on, and is the extra thing consumers are fairly expecting.

The UMF® certification standard, which can be verified through international laboratories including FERA in the UK, rates the honey only on the level of unique non-peroxide activity (as well as checking other quality parameters).

In the Sunday Times article examples of 3 products sold in the UK are given where despite having a number on the jar no measure of the special non-peroxide or UMF activity was given. Preliminary scientific tests showed 'undetectable' levels.

A copy of the Sunday Times article is below: www.thesundaytimes.co.uk to read it direct together with comments.

The New Zealand Honey Shop understands that it is the unique extra property that consumers expect to receive. From basic professional diligence we have known about quality concerns for some products and have been able to ensure the products we have sold are honestly labeled, hence our strict support for only UMF® certified jars of manuka honey.


In the interests of all consumers The New Zealand Honey Shop calls on UK Trading Standards departments to quickly follow up the Food Standards Agency alert and have samples tested at FERA and to publish the results.

Our full range of UMF® certified manuka honey can be seen here.

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