After three years of in-depth research by Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), the MPI developed this standard to define and regulate Manuka honey in New Zealand for worldwide export. Until recently, there was neither a single definition nor a government approved methodology for Manuka Honey, which caused consumer confusion. In December 2017, MPI announced that it would use a science-based definition to authenticate whether or not a particular honey is New Zealand Manuka honey to be effective February 5, 2018. All honey production on or after that date must comply with the new standard to be exported as New Zealand Monofloral or Multifloral Manuka honey. Product produced and in the distribution system before February 5, 2018, may be sold through in most countries including the UK. Prior to the regulated definition, New Zealand honey labelling guidelines were in place that forbid the use of terms like “active”, “total activity”, “antibacterial”, and “non-peroxide activity,”; honey jar labels using these terms were illegal and not packed in New Zealand.
The new regulatory definition represents a watershed moment for the Manuka honey industry. With these new standards, consumers can be more confident than ever that they are getting genuine New Zealand Manuka honey - as long as they are buying Manuka packed in New Zealand. Therefore, consumers should always look for the FernMark or ‘Packed in New Zealand’ on their Manuka Honey jars to ensure that it was packed in New Zealand and therefore authentic.