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Manuka Health Takes Legal Action

16 April 2008

Manuka Health Takes Legal Action

Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd refutes claims and takes
legal action against Active Manuka Honey Association

Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd today initiated strong legal action to
block what it claimed was a “unilateral and unsubstantiated move” by
the Active Manuka Honey Association to terminate its membership.

Manuka Health chairman Dr Ray Thomson said the company had instructed
its lawyers to challenge the termination and AMHA’s allegations.

“In recent days our lawyers have repeatedly asked AMHA to substantiate
their claims,” he said. “They have declined to provide details.”

“We take this matter extremely seriously and will not allow our
reputation to be harmed in this way. We strongly refute AMHA’s claims.”

Dr Thomson said Manuka Health would seek an interim injunction to
prevent the membership termination and would force AMHA to provide
details of its allegations.

Manuka Health would not cease using the UMF brand, nor would it remove
products or marketing material.

The association operates the UMF testing and branding scheme for
manuka honey. The UMF scheme compares manuka honey’s properties with
different concentrations of a standard laboratory disinfectant.

Dr Thomson said the company would continue to use the UMF brand
alongside its own MGO brand, and that was what probably prompted the
AMHA move.

Manuka Health earlier this year launched the first products certified
to contain specified levels of the antibacterial ingredient —
following the discovery by a German university scientist that the
natural compound methylglyoxal is responsible for manuka honey’s
unique properties.

Dr Thomson said several AMHA member companies were known to regard the
discovery of methyglyoxal as a threat to the UMF brand.


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