8 Feb 2010

Beekeepers warn over 'honey laundering'

6:07 am on 8 February 2010

The National Beekeepers Association (NBA) has come up with another argument for keeping Australian honey out of New Zealand: the practice of honey laundering.

The Ministry of Agriculture has extended a suspension on honey imports from Australia by up to two years while it continues a review of potential pest and disease risks, after a Government-appointed panel questioned aspects of an earlier decision to allow the imports.

The NBA wants the ban to remain indefinitely because of another threat it perceives from Australian honey.

The association's joint chief executive, Gemma Collier, says there have been cases where Australian honey has been mixed with other honey and sold as Australian product.

She says if any of that got in to New Zealand, it would threaten this country's exports, especially the growing trade to the United States.

She says there is a risk pure New Zealand honey would be blended with Australian honey and exported as a New Zealand product.

Ms Collier says New Zealand exported about $4 million worth of honey to the US last year, almost double the previous year's trade.