New Zealand and global consumers will now have greater certainty they are purchasing genuine ma¯nuka honey as a result of new authentication testing provided by Hill Laboratories.
Hill Laboratories’ new “Manuka5” test has been launched in line with tougher export requirements for New Zealand mānuka honey, slated to come into effect in July.
MPI announced last month that a new science-based definition would be used to authenticate New Zealand mānuka honey and safeguard consumers from buying fraudulent products.
Hill Laboratories general manager of technology, Dr Jonno Hill, said two tests are carried out to measure five different attributes of a mānuka honey sample.
“The new definition is based around the concentration of four chemical markers and a DNA marker. We first test for the mānuka DNA using one method, then analyse for the four chemical parameters via a second method,” Dr Hill explained.
“If the chemical and DNA markers are all above threshold levels, then the honey is deemed to be manuka honey. In addition, the concentration of one of the chemical parameters in particular defines the honey as either multifloral manuka or monofloral manuka.”
Hill Laboratories is currently the only laboratory in New Zealand that is recognised by MPI to carry out both the DNA and the chemical tests. It has been receiving samples and completing Manuka5 tests since mid-April.
“If the criteria for authentication becomes an absolute export condition in July, then our full MPI accreditation means that all of the results generated by our laboratory before then will be valid retrospectively and can be used for export purposes,” said Dr Hill.
Deputy Director-General, Bryan Wilson said New Zealand mānuka honey authentication was essential to maintain and grow export markets.
“It is important that overseas regulators have confidence in the assurances we give them about New Zealand mānuka honey, and that consumers in those countries are confident they are getting the real deal. If not, our access to markets could be put a risk or we may lose the premium price which our bee products command overseas,” Mr Wilson said.