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AMHA Terminates Manuka Health Membership

16 April 2008

AMHA Terminates Manuka Health Membership

The Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has terminated Manuka Health NZ Ltd's membership after the company breached the Association's membership rules.

AMHA Brand Manager, John Rawcliffe, said product testing had shown that Manuka Health had packed and sold UMFR honey that was not true to label.

"As a result of the termination of membership, Manuka Health is no longer entitled to use the UMFR trade mark on any of its promotional materials and products, including those currently on shelf," Mr Rawcliffe said.

"AMHA has requested that Manuka Health immediately remove all products and marketing material with the brand UMFR from the marketplace."

He said AMHA had also been concerned about Manuka Health activities which were viewed by the Association as being contrary to the best interests of AMHA, the UMFR trade mark and other members.

""For some time now, we have been alarmed about Manuka Health claims made in promotional materials which could mislead the public to believe that UMFR Honey had unsupported medical claims. This contravenes AMHA's membership protocol which requires any health claims on promotional materials be substantiated by results produced by approved and properly conducted scientific trials and investigations. Such claims also do not comply with current New Zealand law."

Mr. Rawcliffe said there were also a number of additional matters uncovered during the course of AMHA's general licensing inquiries.

"These matters are now currently under investigation by company fraud investigators, in liaison with the appropriate authorities.

"AMHA views any breach of its membership rules very seriously.

"The Association estimates that sales of UMFR honey and honey containing products both locally and offshore currently represent more than NZD$100 million in annual turnover.

"Protecting the UMFR brand and customers who purchase UMFR products is, therefore, paramount. AMHA continues to monitor local and offshore UMFR-related activities, to ensure the robustness of the brand."

UMFR honey has antibacterial properties which are naturally present in various strengths in some strains of Manuka honey. The UMFR Test Standard was established to identify and set apart the UMFR Manuka honey which has the antibacterial properties in it. The Test Standard is the only standard worldwide that has been specifically developed to identify and measure the antibacterial strength of UMFR honey.

ENDS

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