How We’re Helping ‘Liquid Gold’ Spread Around the World

July 16, 2020

Which product is one of the most attractive for fraudsters right now? Honey. Or more specifically, mānuka honey. This Kiwi “liquid gold”is so hot right now, it requires Government protection.

New Zealand Mānuka honey’s sweet success, is attracting calculated fraudsters around the world, keen to cash in on the global appetite for the premium product. Honey fraud, where a product is either adulterated or misrepresented to resemble the real thing, is a risk not only to our country’s export reputation, but 80% of $242m export revenue from honey.

To tackle the issue of honey fraud, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) partnered with local honey producers and scientific organisations around the world to develop a scientific definition that can be used to authenticate whether or not a particular honey is New Zealand mānuka honey. This robust and sophisticated scientific definition took three years of work and is made up of a combination of 5 attributes, including 4 chemicals from nectar and 1 DNA marker from mānuka pollen.

Since December 2017, all honey labelled as mānuka for export must be tested by an IANZ accredited laboratory to ensure it meets this new definition. Reports from IANZ accredited laboratories are recognised by regulators in over 65 countries, which means that our mānuka honey can go directly onto supermarket shelves overseas without needing to be re-tested when they reach their export destination.

The science definition for mānuka honey is essential to maintaining New Zealand's international export reputation. It's critical that overseas markets have confidence in the assurances we give them about our products and consumers are confident that they're getting genuine mānuka honey– particularly given the premium price!

IANZ is proud of the part we play in protecting and enhancing New Zealand trade. And, in this particular case, helping the continued growth of a sweet and uniquely Kiwi product.


Ivy Huang

Lead Assessor in the Chemical and Biological Testing Laboratories Programmes

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