The Bee Products Standards Council (BPSC) is pleased the
Ministry of Primary Industries is proposing standards for the
definition of manuka honey.
However, some of the proposed standards are not
''palatable'', BPSC vice-chairman John Hartnell says.
Mr Hartnell said the BPSC had been ''pushing for standards''
which defined monofloral manuka honey since 2002 and he was
pleased the issue was being addressed.
However, he was concerned some of the proposed standards were
not aligned with the Codex Alimentarius Standard for Honey,
which provided standards for monofloral honey
Last month, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye released a
consultation document which provided three options for
defining monofloral manuka honey.
Option one would define manuka honey based on the level of
pollen, option two would be based on methylglyoxal (MG)
activity and the third option was a combination of both.
Mr Hartnell said the ''key element'' of a standard definition
for manuka honey would be basing it on the Codex Alimentarius
Standard for Honey.
''Nowhere in there [Codex] does a standard refer to MG or
activity to define a monofloral honey,'' Mr Hartnell said.
The Bee Products Standards Council is pleased manuka honey
will be subject to standards which define monofloral manuka
honey for both domestic and international consumers. Photo
by Allied Press Files.
Codex designates a monofloral honey as one which shares
the ''organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic'' qualities
of the source from which it is derived.
Due to the high value of manuka honey, there were a few
producers within the industry who were ''a little nervous''
about standards which defined the product, Mr Hartnell said.
''I think some of the product you see in the market is
pushing the boundaries of whether you would consider it a
monofloral honey or not,'' he said.
Many of the issues revolved around claims which related to
the antibacterial properties of manuka honey and if all
companies were aligned in their use of descriptors and their
meanings it would be good for the consumer and the industry,
''It's our job as an industry to change ... when you educate
the consumer, then it's the consumer that determines the
quality of the product that goes to the market,'' he said.
''If we hadn't discovered the antibacterial nature of manuka
honey, half the issue wouldn't be there.''
New Zealand manuka honey has come under the spotlight this
year, in July, the Hong Kong Consumer Council announced tests
carried out on New Zealand-produced manuka honey revealed
traces of added sugar present in the product.
Since then the Government had moved to provide consumer
assurance about the product which is worth $120 million per
year to the economy.
The ministry will announce its draft labelling guidelines in
the coming months.
- Timothy Brown.