Manuka honey fraud and how to find the real deal

Manuka Honey Fraud

Forget fake handbags, clothing and shoes. Honey is the new fake in town.

In recent years evidence has shown that fraudulent honey has been in global circulation and it is no surprise that Manuka honey has been a prime target because its rarity, prized properties and price tag.

Antiviral and Antibacterial Honey

Manuka honey, is a bit of a wonder honey. Whilst there are some lovely honeys around (including raw local honey, who doesn’t love their local beekeeper right?), Manuka honey gets a lot of attention, because of its antiviral and antibacterial qualities (which you can read about in my earlier blog post here:

Manuka honey is made by bees gathering nectar from the delicate flowers of the Manuka Bush, a plant that is native to New Zealand.

False Labelling and Tampering

The main forms of honey fraud (Manuka honey or otherwise) come down to false labelling and/or tampering with the honey.  False labelling is easy to do, it involves simply making a false claims on the honey jar label.

In relation to Manuka honey this often means that honey ratings can be misleading with activity ratings falsified, to make a cheaper honey appear more expensive or beneficial.

Honey production and supply

It is thought that over 80% of honey around the world that is sold as Manuka honey is fraudulently labelled. This is because the quantities of honey available and labelled as Manuka honey around the world vastly exceeds the amount of Manuka honey actually produced by the bees in New Zealand.

Honey fraud on a global scale

This means that many thousands of  tonnes of honey around the world is fraudulently labelled as Manuka honey and may contain little or no Manuka nectar and may have been blended with other low cost honey.

Scientific Definition

In response to global fraud and in a bid to protect the reputation of Manuka honey (an important export for New Zealand), the New Zealand government has over the years been testing hundreds of samples of honey from around the world to establish a scientific definition of genuine Manuka honey (and to crackdown on fake Manuka honey).

After several year of testing, there is now a scientific definition of Manuka honey that is used to authenticate Manuka honey destined for export in a bid to restore consumer confidence.

Consumer confidence

The new definition means that honey must have five attributes – four chemicals and one DNA marker – in order to be classified as genuine New Zealand Manuka honey. This definition has been established to give consumers confidence in the assurance in the Manuka honey they buy.

Trace your Batch

If you’re looking for Manuka honey and you want to ensure you only receive genuine products (in accordance with the latest Manuka honey science definition), look for a reputable Manuka brand that allows you to trace the test certificate of your purchased Manuka honey

A reputable Manuka honey brand will work closely with their beekeepers in New Zealand, so that every batch of their honey is traceable back to the source hive where the bees made it.

The Manuka Honey I am currently eating is a premium quality Manuka Honey with a 140 MGO rating sold under the Manuka Doctor brand. Each batch of Manuka Doctor honey has a batch number stamped onto it, which allows you to trace your jar of honey to a batch certificate and test report. I used this batch number to test traceability out on the Manuka Doctor website (my batch number is 181324) and I was pleased to see that the batch certificate and test report for my honey was available for me to view. Complete assurance.