Is NZ’s Mānuka honey industry at risk?
The Government’s last minute announcement of a change in the Mānuka honey definition puts one of New Zealand’s iconic export industries at risk, says National’s Food Safety spokesperson David Bennett. “The repeated changes and subsequent confusion around the definition and test for Mānuka honey are extremely unsettling,” he says.
“This uncertainty has flow-on effects for not only the industry but also exporters and consumers. With only a week until export requirements come into force, the industry is still in the dark.
“Overseas markets are looking to New Zealand to provide a credible and robust definition for Mānuka honey and all that we have so far are a series of failed attempts and back-tracks.
“The definition put out this week only requires one microgram of the 2MAP marker per kilogram, whereas the first definition that was released in December required that the honey had five micrograms of the marker.
“The Minister also indicated that he had carried out “lots” of consultation with the industry around the December test. However the industry tells me that this is not the case. The dropping of legal action after the Minister reverted back to his pre-December test further proves that.
“I’m calling on the Minister to give the industry some reassurance and confirm a test and standard for Mānuka honey once and for all,” Bennett says.
Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council comments: “New Zealand industry and government need to work together to sort this issue out once and for all otherwise we run the risk of reputational damage to all New Zealand honey and major markets could move to introduce non-tariff barriers.”