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British manuka honey ‘rip off’

22 May 2009

New Zealand manuka honey producer offers to test British ‘rip off’ for active ingredient

A New Zealand manuka honey producer has offered to test a Cornwall “rip-off” of manuka honey for the active ingredient amid reports British consumers are paying £55 a jar for the fake product.

Cornwall beekeepers have imported manuka plants from New Zealand to produce their own version of medicinal manuka honey which they are selling at £5 ($13) a teaspoonful.

Kerry Paul, chief executive of honey health science company Manuka Health New Zealand, said he was incredulous at the gullibility of British consumers and offered to test the Cornwall honey for levels of the active ingredient.

“If consumers are expecting that honey to have the antibacterial properties which genuine manuka honey is famous for, I’m afraid they will be disappointed,” he said.

“The natural compound methylglyoxal is the active antibacterial ingredient in manuka honey, but it is not present at sufficient levels in all manuka honey.

“That’s why we certify the level of MGO™ [TM] in all our products. To be able to kill bacteria, the minimum level is MGO™100.

“If someone cares to send us an unopened jar of the Cornwall honey, we will have our lab test it.”

Mr Paul said he had seen a photograph of a pot of the Cornwall honey on a British newspaper website and could tell it was not manuka honey from the colour.

He doubted there was much manuka honey in the pot, which he said looked like it came from “mixed sources”.

“In any case, there is no way an estate in Cornwall can reproduce the conditions which create genuine manuka honey.”

“Even in New Zealand’s climate, you need about one hectare of dense manuka forest per hive to produce 25kgs of honey.

“There would need to be many hectares of manuka to ensure the bees go to the manuka and not other flowers. This will not be the case in Cornwell.

“Sadly, this is yet another rip-off of genuine manuka honey which consumers around the world need to be alert to.”

Mr Paul said consumers could obtain information online on how to tell if manuka honey was genuine, at and on his company’s website


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