Bee aware: do you know what is in that cheap jar of honey?

Bee aware: do you know what is in that cheap jar of honey?

Do you know what is in that cheap jar of honey?

The Guardian newspaper has warned honey-buyers to be cautious over reports of fake and diluted honeys.

In the UK we eat more than 50,000 tons of honey a year, and globally over 1.9 million tons are consumed.

But now beekeepers are calling for a requirement on supermarkets and other retailers to label cheap honey imports from China and other nations with the country of origin after claims that part of the global supply of honey is bulked out with sugar syrup.

Read the article here.

That’s why it’s vital to do your homework before you purchase any honey, but especially Manuka, which is prized for its high MGO content.

The facts:

Official data from the New Zealand Government shows that of the 27,000 tonnes of honey the country produced in the 2019/20 season, a huge 76 per cent of it (20,520 tonnes) was Manuka.

Of that total 7,854 tonnes was exported out of New Zealand, with the UK receiving 1,973 tonnes.

It is not possible to know how much Manuka is sold in the UK annually as not all retailers or online sellers release their sales figures.

Yet industry insiders estimate not every product available in the UK would meet the correct New Zealand standards if tested here.

Certainly, 1,972 tonnes is not much Manuka considering as a nation we eat twenty-five times that of all honey!

Know where your honey has been:

At Manuka Doctor all our honey is harvested and packed into jars in New Zealand itself. We then ship our finished products to our base in the UK, where it is dispatched to you.

This means we’re always in control of the process, and we never pack our Manuka honey outside of New Zealand.

When the security seal lid is applied to your jar in our facility in Hamilton, NZ. Nobody else opens it until you do.

It’s important to know where your honey has been, because as recently as 2019 a New Zealand company was fined for adding a synthetic component to its Manuka to try and increase the strength. Read more here.

Supermarket giant Tesco has also been caught up in a fake honey scandal, having to withdraw jars from sale after tests revealed they contained sugar syrups. Read more here.

Another reason to be wary is the UK remains the top destination in the world for bulk Manuka honey from New Zealand.

Bulk Manuka means honey which is shipped in large metal drums. And once out of New Zealand, it can be diluted, blended, or mixed in any way with no paperwork trail to support it.

Our Hive to Home promise

All Manuka Doctor honey carries our Hive to Home promise which means every batch we sell can be traced back to the exact group of beehives where it was created.

We always pack in New Zealand, and test five times between the beekeeper and the final sale to customers. Finally, we always use independent labs both here in the UK and in New Zealand to ensure our honey meets the required Government standard.

In fact you are able to see the paper trail for any jar of Manuka Doctor honey simply by typing the batch number into our online checker.

Companies who mix, blend and pack their honey in different countries before sale are very unlikely to be able to prove this detailed chain of custody.

What should you do?

First check the brand of Manuka you buy is packed in New Zealand, like Manuka Doctor.

Ask if it’s shipped directly from New Zealand to the UK or is it packed or mixed in another country to its origin?

Then do your research into the brand:

  • Can it trace every batch like our Hive to Home promise?
  • Can it provide you with a paper-trail by typing in your batch number?
  • What labs do they use to independently check the MGO level?
  • And perhaps most importantly – does it have real customer reviews to prove that other customers are enjoying the products?

Our team of advisors is happy to help you with any questions you may have. Simply email

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