Honey producers find themselves in sticky situation

27 August 2013

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28 August 2013 | Will Green

The UK government has issued an alert after concerns were raised about the labelling of Manuka honey.

Manuka honey is produced only in New Zealand and it is claimed to have unique antibacterial properties, with endorsements from stars such as tennis champion Novak Djokovic.

But according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), concerns have been raised about levels of the active antibacterial ingredient in Manuka honey on sale in the UK, compared with what is advertised on the label. 

Research has shown some Manuka honey on sale has much lower levels than claimed of the active ingredient, usually declared as a “unique Manuka factor”.

Earlier this year, officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) met with representatives of the New Zealand-based Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association to discuss the problem.

As a result, the FSA has called on local authorities to monitor honey on sale.

An FSA spokesman said: “Manuka honey represents about two per cent of the UK market and we believe most is genuine and labelled according to the law.

“The FSA and Defra have been alerted to potential labelling issues with Manuka honey and have asked local authorities to undertake surveillance to show whether this is the case.”

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