The Evolving Landscape of Honey Testing
The manuka honey industry continues to grow in size, with 879,758 registered bee hives in NZ (2018) and honey exports exceeding $350 million per year. NZ Manuka Honey products continue to gain strength in overseas markets, and the need to protect New Zealand’s honey industry from food fraud is more important than ever.
In 2014 we saw the introduction of leptosperin, a stable chemical marker found in the nectar of Manuka plants, which when tested alongside MGO, DHA and HMF (3in1 Suite), honey was deemed genuine Manuka honey. However as food fraud has evolved, the need for stricter regulations has become apparent. The C4 AOAC sugar method, a way of determining adulteration via addition of sugar syrups was introduced in 2015, yet just three years later we have seen sugar syrups on the overseas market claiming to pass this test.
Most recently the introduction of MPI’s Manuka 5 Attributes, which identifies four stable chemical markers, and one DNA marker, has been established to distinguish Manuka honey from other similar varieties such as Kanuka. These are just some of the many tests introduced over the last 5 years to protect the consumer from adulterated honey, and NZ’s reputation.
As we continue to invest in resources and technology, we are able to offer routine honey testing faster, and more cost effective than ever. In late 2018 we were pleased to announce our next day turn around time on the full Manuka 5 Attributes test. retaining our position as NZ’s fastest honey testing laboratory. Our MGO, DHA, HMF (3in1) and Leptosperin tests also have a next day turnaround time.
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