With Mānuka honey growing in popularity, it should be no surprise that many will try and sell counterfeit products. Recent studies have shown that honey is in the top three of most-faked food globally.
This blog will outline the essential factors for finding an honest and reliable Mānuka honey supplier.
Manuka Honey - The Perfect Crime
Is there a difference between Mānuka honey and regular honey? Of course, but many companies worldwide have allowed the lines to be blurred with adulterated honey. A common method for producing counterfeit honey is to take genuine honey and cut it with a sugar syrup derived from corn or rice syrup.
One of the most notable cases was from China in 2008. This well-known event saw the attempted import of over $40 million worth of counterfeit honey into the US. The aptly named ‘Honeygate’ has supposedly been the largest fraud involving food in the nation’s history.
In 2019, a New Zealand-based company faced 64 charges of alleged adulteration of Mānuka honey with artificial chemicals. As a result, the products of this company were recalled in 2016 by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) as containing “non-approved substances”. Penalties for this company range from a $500,000NZD fine or up to five years imprisonment.
The Global Demand For Pure Manuka Honey
Mānuka honey is a rare substance and only has a brief window of harvest every year. The flower responsible for producing Mānuka honey (Leptospermum scoparium) only blooms two to six weeks a year.
This liquid gold contributes 76% of the $425 million New Zealand honey revenue, making it a valuable export. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for natural health products (specifically Mānuka honey) shot up wildly. Including one buyer from the UK who bought $62,000 worth of rare Mānuka honey in a single transaction.
Confidence is very high at the moment, with the global Mānuka honey market projected to reach $1.44B by 2028. With a growing value in the total market, it’s more critical than ever to ensure 100% pure New Zealand Mānuka honey within your products.
How To Look Out For Fraudulent Manuka Honey
1. Follow the scientific definition as set by the New Zealand Government
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has a firm definition of what constitutes monofloral Mānuka honey. One unique DNA marker needs to be met to confirm true Mānuka nectar has been harvested.
Additionally, the four following chemical markers also need to be present at specific concentrations:
- 3-phenyllactic acid
- 2’-methoxyacetone phenone
- 2-methoxybenzoic acid
- 4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid
The test for monofloral Mānuka honey requires all of the five attributes to be present. Therefore, if the honey fails to meet just one of the mentioned components, it cannot legally be classified as monofloral.
2. Independent testing from accredited laboratories
Mānuka honey products are precious and rare to New Zealand and require rigorous screening to ensure purity. An apiary or Mānuka honey production facility should ensure consistent levels of quality year-round. Furthermore, tests that are carried out should be conducted by independent laboratories that are not biased.
The independent IANZ certified laboratories will be the best operations to ensure this level of quality. Part of the IANZ certification criteria includes meeting international standards and competence.
3. UMF™-certified Manuka Honey
As the gold standard of Mānuka honey verification in the world, UMF™ supplies customers with total confidence. As awarded by the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association, UMF™ uses every important marker of Mānuka honey as a means of validating and grading.
UMF™ verification requires the presence of all significant bioactive ingredients presents within the Mānuka honey. Additionally, the concentrations of these chemicals (particularly the methylglyoxal or MGO). The following chemicals need to be present:
- Leptosperin - DNA marker and linked to perceived anti-inflammatory properties
- Methylglyoxal (MGO) - related to perceived anti-bacterial properties
- Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) - the natural precursor to MGO
- Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) - detects heating and maturity within the honey
The Mānuka honey UMF™ stamp of approval is well-known within the community. Having the symbol and grade on a Mānuka product instantly makes it more sought after.
Midlands Apiaries Will Always Provide Genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a treasured New Zealand staple, and we take purity very seriously at Midlands Apiaries. All of our Mānuka honey goes through extensive testing during every stage of production.
We ensure the following independent criteria for Mānuka are all met:
- The scientific definition of Mānuka honey (as set by MPI)
- UMF™ certification
- Independent IANZ testing from accredited laboratories
We promise to deliver honey that meets the most stringent standards consistently. A partnership with Midlands Apiaries means that you will receive pure New Zealand Mānuka honey always - we set a very high bar for all our products.
Midlands Apiaries offers a full turnkey solution for your Mānuka honey brand. We have everything you need, from genuine UMF™ Mānuka honey to an established marketing team to launch the brand. So if you’re looking to bring a fantastic brand to market, our team of professionals can plan a pathway to your launch. With an extensive network of honey supplies and laboratories - Midlands Apiaries can provide your business with everything it needs.
Additionally, as the largest New Zealand supplier of wholesale Mānuka honey globally, Midlands Apiaries knows a thing or two about quality. An accredited laboratory tests each batch of Mānuka honey from Midlands Apiaries for certification. We are very aware of the stringent requirements set forth by UMFHA (Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association) and exceed the minimum chemical requirements for certification.
Get in touch with us today for more information about how Midlands Apiaries can make for a beneficial partner in your budding business.