NZ Government releases new manuka honey definition, strengthens export requirements


The New Zealand Government’s Ministry For Primary Industries (MPI) will release a new scientific definition for manuka honey in early February.

The new definition is made up of a combination of four chemical markers from nectar and one DNA marker from mānuka pollen. This combination of markers separates mānuka honey from other types of honey and identifies monofloral manuka honey and multifloral mānuka honey.

From 5 February 2018, all mānuka honey for export will have to be tested and meet MPI’s scientific definition before it can be sold overseas

The new export requirements will strengthen traceability across the honey supply chain. Under the new requirements beekeepers will need to register with MPI and keep detailed records of all the honey they produce and the location of their hives. Beekeepers and processors will also need to provide full documentation with each batch of honey for export. This includes detailed information on the honey that is being exported and where it comes from.

MPI says it consulted widely on the new definition and that the resulting export requirements follow extensive engagement with industry.

Changes included in the new definition include:

  • Increasing the levels of 2’-methoxyacetophenone (2’-MAP) from 1 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg to make it even harder for anyone to attempt blending different types of honey with mānuka honey to meet the definition
  • Having honey boxes individually numbered for traceability purposes instead of requiring every super to be numbered
  • Putting in place a restriction on feeding bees during the harvest season instead of prohibition
  • Removing a prohibition on the extraction of honey from honey combs that have been part of the brood nest and replacing this with a requirement that all beekeepers have to manage residue levels in honey effectively but how they achieve this is up to the individual beekeeper
  • Introducing a new requirement for beekeepers to provide documentation (harvest declarations) for every delivery of bee products presented for extraction
  • Introducing a new requirement for operators to provide proper documentation when they transfer a consignment of honey to another operator or exporter

Summaries of submissions can be found on MPI’s website: