4 Feb 2010

Honey shipment cleared, but not going anywhere yet

6:02 am on 4 February 2010

A $1 million consignment of manuka honey that was under investigation by the Food Safety Authority, has been cleared for release.

However, an exporter in Timaru holding the honey says he won't send any of it overseas until testing issues are resolved.

High grade manuka honey from the North Island normally fetches a premium price in export markets.

Honey Valley alerted the FSA after tests showed abnormal levels of cane sugar.

The readings were confirmed by further tests done in Germany

It's not a health or safety issue, so the FSA has cleared the honey for release.

But Honey Valley managing director Steve Lyttle says it's going nowhere at the moment, because the higher than normal cane sugar reading means it would be rejected in some export markets.

Mr Lyttle says there's a possibility that the honey may be sent back to the bee-keeper.

Honey Valley has already paid for the consignment. Mr Lyttle estimates the extra testing and disruption to export orders will also cost $50,000 - $100,000.