Speculation in the media concerning the integrity of manuka honey risks damaging this lucrative export market and undermining the value proposition of our wider beekeeping industry, said Apiculture New Zealand.

The industry peak body was responding to a recent news story that questioned the integrity of the sector and suggested that certain producers were swindling consumers by making false claims about their ‘manuka’ product.

“We support the hard work of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to resolve this issue and to have an agreed manuka honey definition by later this year. MPI have advised us they are working on options for implementation of the definition, which may include changes to the current regulatory framework,” said ApiNZ chief executive, Daniel Paul.

“Industry is contributing to this process so the standard, when introduced, will be a collaborative initiative and all players will have had a chance to make their case.

“In the meantime, we need to trust the process and let MPI get on with it.”

ApiNZ said MPI is working as quickly as it can to resolve what is scientifically speaking a complex issue.

“This is a critically important issue for our industry and we need to allow MPI the space to get it right.”

Mr Paul acknowledged the new standard when introduced may not suit every player in the sector.

“But it will provide certainty to our export markets and assurance to consumers about the authenticity and integrity of New Zealand Manuka honey and that’s the most important thing,” he said.

For further information contact Daniel Paul, (021) 400-993