In July last year, New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) released interim guidelines on the testing and labelling of Manuka honey in a bid to develop an industry standard for the sale of Manuka honey. We at Manuka Doctor are constantly monitoring MPI's progress and continue to have an open and constructive dialogue with MPI. Currently the guidelines are not required by EU law and are only interim, we expect there will be an industry meeting with MPI to update the standard some time this year. When MPI comes to a final decision, there may well be a change in EU law with regards to how Manuka honey should be rated and labelled. Manuka Doctor has and continues to conform to current required UK standards and will abide by any changes as and when they come into force/become law.
Every Batch of Manuka Doctor's Active Manuka honey is independently tested in New Zealand and then re-tested at UK Food & Environment Research Laboratories (FERA) before being released onto the UK market. Our testing is thorough and world class. Our honey is also UK-market tested before release. We are not aware of any other New Zealand honey company undertaking this level of testing in the UK.
The activity levels are tested at an authorised independent laboratory in New Zealand using the Determination of Honey Activity by Bioassay Method (as referenced in The University of Waikato, Honey Assay Method). Manuka Doctor re-tests every batch of Active Manuka Honey as it lands in the UK, these tests are overseen by the Food and Environment Research agency (FERA) and the product is labelled at the lowest test value in a controlled and secure environment. This ensures that each batch is traceable and true to label. Each batch of our honey sold worldwide has an allocated Certificate of Analysis and batch test results.
In the UK Manuka Doctor has been assigned a Primary Authority Partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and will continue to work with the Trading Standards team to ensure that all products meet current UK legislation and requirements. Again Manuka Doctor's honey labelling regime is one of the few correctly adhering to the new EU Food Information Regulation (FIR), which came into force December 2014. As a further example of how well prepared Manuka Doctor is, all the Manuka Doctor honey labels were compliant by January 2014, almost a year ahead of the enforcement date.
In addition to batch testing, our products also undergo additional testing before leaving New Zealand to demonstrate to our international markets, that the goods are from New Zealand. Oritain certify the origin of source. Oritain has an extensive database of authentic honey samples from around the world. It can now compare any sample to its data set and determine if its origin is within a region they have sampled, hence being able to certify country of origin. We continuously carry out testing on all of the above.
If you have any specific questions regarding the MPI Interim Guidelines or Manuka Doctor honey, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://archive.mpi.govt.nz/food/food-safety/manuka-honey.