19 Aug 2017

MPI delays decision on mānuka honey definition

5:47 pm on 19 August 2017

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has decided to delay finalising its scientific definition for mānuka honey until the end of the year after push-back by beekeepers, who said it was flawed.

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none Photo: RNZ

The Ministry released its scientific definition to authenticate New Zealand mānuka honey in April, following damaging allegations three years ago in British media that consumers were paying inflated prices for products containing little mānuka.

MPI head of assurance and monitoring Allan Kinsella said officials needed more time to consider the alternative definition provided by industry.

"We will ask the industry to provide all the data and methodology that supports the definition they are proposing so it can be fully considered," he said.

"MPI's focus has always been on ensuring the rules for exporting of mānuka honey are based on a robust and accurate scientific definition.

"These final rules will give other governments and consumers' confidence in the authenticity of New Zealand mānuka honey."

Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos said it was "a good thing" the Ministry had decided to take industry's views into account.

"Obviously the delay's not great but it's really critical we get the definition right.

"We need consumers and industry, everyone to have absolute confidence in the definition of New Zealand mānuka honey and the authenticity around it.

"So it's really important that MPI and the government work with industry to get that right."

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