Good news story !

Manuka honey can change lives for ever !

Only use Medical Grade Sterile Manuka honey on wounds, available from Links Medical Products (


Aldi Manuka Type Honey

Aldi has launched a Manuka Type honey. Is this really what the New Zealand govenment advised ?

Full of flavour and naturally sweet, it’s raw, unpasteurised New Zealand Manuka Type Honey with 30% from Manuka Pollen. This is delicious spread over a slice of toasted Specially Selected Farmhouse Multigrain Batch.

End of TA Manuka honey….about time !

NZ Honey fights MPI over alleged health claims on Manuka Doctor, Manuka Pharm branding

MPI has been cracking down on the manuka honey industry amid international criticism there was more manuka honey coming out of the country than New Zealand actually produces.

New Zealand Honey International, the closely-held honey products maker, wants a judicial declaration on whether its trademarks Manuka Doctor and Manuka Pharm amount to health claims after the Ministry of Primary Industries withdrew export approvals, blocking the firm's sales into certain markets.

MPI has been cracking down on the manuka honey industry amid international criticism there was more manuka honey coming out of the country than New Zealand actually produces.

With no industry consensus on what constitutes manuka honey, MPI introduced an interim labelling guideline in July 2014 to give the industry clarity and protect consumers from false claims, as well as to try to improve credibility of the manuka products.

The regulator cancelled NZ Honey's export assurance in May, saying the company's brand names Manuka Doctor and Manuka Pharm breached food labelling standards.

MPI undertook a survey of manuka honey labelling last year, and first contacted NZ Honey in October with concerns over the labelling, before ultimately deciding both Manuka Doctor and Manuka Pharm were not compliant.

Appearing at the High Court in Wellington before Justice Simon France, NZ Honey counsel Andrew Brown QC said the company hasn't been able to export manuka products since May 22 because of the lack of an export certificate, including $500,000 in manuka honey waiting to be shipped to Thailand, Japan and China.

Asian demand for manuka honey has seen the price for all New Zealand honey increase, amid a global honey shortage. Bees produced $187 million of exported honey in the June 2014 year, up 8 percent by volume and almost 30 percent by value on the previous year.

The trademarks didn't make specific or identifiable claims as listed in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, and were to identify the source of the product rather than speak to their health benefits, Brown said.

When asked by Justice France whether there wasn't a vague suggestion that the use of doctor or 'pharm', shortened for pharmacy, didn't imply "it's good for you", Brown said consumers were used to "that sort of puffery". Because there was no direct or specific claim it couldn't fall under what the food standards code defines as a claim, he said.

Appearing for MPI, Rachael Schmidt-McCleave said consumers were aware of the premium they paid for manuka honey, and that branding was important to inform that understanding. Doctor implied the "healing powers of a physician" while pharm associated it with a pharmacy, where a consumer goes to get medicine or drugs, she said.

Schmidt-McCleave was unsure of MPI's stance on other manuka brands, including Manuka Health, but submitted the regulator was either in the process of determining if there were claims or had resolved the issue.

The hearing is set down for one day and is continuing.

Daily Mail Latest Update

The Daily Mail has recently published an article on Manuka honey explaining the confusion and potential corruption within the industry. Until DEFRA and the FSA take action, the companies will continue to flourish and make significant profit from the blending.

Trade Mark

The latest news from UMF Honey Association is that they plan to trademark the words “Manuka Honey”. 

Given the strict global trademark rules, this simply won’t be allowed.

Peter Molan

Peter Molan’s passing is a huge loss for the honey industry. 

Peter was respected for his passion for Manuka honey and independent thinking. You will be missed by all.

Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association

Latest news from UMFHA, the owners of the UMF trademark:

UMFHA set to file Manuka patent

It is believed that the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association are about to file for a patent, which identifies the "signature compounds" in Manuka honey. According to a recent open publication by UMFHA, this will "Add value to Manuka, NZ Inc and the UMFHA through Intellectual Property (IP)."

According to UMFHA, the IP generated from their work includes:

  • "Identification of novel compounds specific to Manuka."
  • "Strengthening NZ honey market credibility globally."
  • "Exclusion of counterfeit or adulterated honey, from NZ or elsewhere."
  • "Protecting the value in the NZ Manuka Positioning."
  • "Potentially new bioactivity from these new compounds."
  • "Adding incremental value to Manuka honey producers should new bioactivity be found."

Why would UMFHA bother with a patent?

The role of the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association has weekend considerably over the last 12 months:

  • The latest report from Peter Molan (the true relationship between NPA and MG Levels), identifies Methylglyoxal as the unique compound. 
  • EU labelling legislation clearly states that only the unique compound found within a product can be measured and stated front of pack. 
  • UK FSA and Trading standards are now starting to challenge Manuka labelling and claims.
  • NZ Interim Labelling Guidelines suggest a move away from "generic" rating systems to one that focuses on the unique compound. 

As a result of this market swing away from the UMF trademark, it is clear that the association are looking to find other ways to protect their organisation.

So, can you patent naturally occurring substances, or not?

The United States Patent and TradeMark office issued new guidelines on this very topic back in March 2014 and as a result previous standards for patenting naturally occurring compounds have been tightened up. 

The document makes clear that no longer is the process of identification, isolation and purification of compounds within a natural product itself, seen as enough modification to make a case for patentability. 

The story is the same in Europe and this combined with 10 years worth of global prior art, will make any patent application extremely challengeable. 

So what is best for the industry?

The answer is not difficult, although extremely controversial for the companies generating income from trademarks or selling Manuka based on the Total Activity level (Peroxide level+Non Peroxide Level).

A move to marketing Manuka on the Methylglyoxal level would fix the issue overnight. Other existing  low-cost  indicators / tests can of course be used to further protect the Manuka brand, however the wheel does not need reinventing this time.

Manuka Honey - Industry Challenges

The latest article on Manuka honey highlights the challenges the industry has at cleaning up their act!

What does Manuka honey and Sun Cream have in common

Comvita lose CEO Brett Hewlett

Comvita CEO Brett Hewlett stands down next year. This is a significant loss for Comvita, over the last 10 years Brett built the foundations for Comvita’s recent success. 

read more here

What soes Sun Cream and Manuka Honey have in common ?

Good post about the challenges within both industries. 

What does Sun Cream and Manuka honey have in common ?