Friday, April 24, 2009

Manuka Honey Producers Split on Medicinal Test Standard

Sour Words Over Honey
By Kimberley Villari, The Independent, 4/24/2009

Relations between manuka honey producers are souring, with research splitting the industry over the best test to use to determine the product's healing properties.

Waikato University research released last week uncovered the source of methylglyoxal (MGO), one component which helps give manuka honey its antibacterial activity.

The scientists found MGO was derived from dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in the nectar of the manuka flower.

The finding allows tree varieties high in DHA to be identified and propagated, enabling producers to attract premium prices.

The honey can also be tested for DHA levels as soon as it is made to determine the viability of the end product, instead of waiting three months for it to ripen as happens now.

But some industry players are concerned the study's focus on MGO could confuse consumers trying to ascertain the effectiveness of manuka honey varieties. Until now, the accepted global measurement of the antibacterial strength of manuka honey has been Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF.

This follows the discovery, in 1991, that honey from some strains of the New Zealand manuka bush had an antibacterial activity not present in any other honey. The UMF trademark can be used only by manufacturers licensed through the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA).

A honey manufacturer who fell out with the AMHA said the university's findings backed his company's decision in 2007 to move to using methylglyoxal as the measurement of the healing properties of its honey.

Kerry Paul, chief executive of another manufacturer, Manuka Health New Zealand, said the MGO rating had been adopted in 30 countries as a testing standard for manuka honey. The UMF testing system was ''inaccurate'', he said. ''If you look at scientific evidence, methylglyoxal is exclusively, responsible for the [healing properties of manuka honey].''…

AMHA brand manager John Rawcliffe said the organisation had spent considerable time and resources over the last year ''cleaning up the industry'' with regard to product claims.

Rawcliffe said he was pleased to see further research but said the study did not demonstrate MGO alone was the healing component of manuka honey. He was concerned the findings could encourage disreputable practices, like companies heating honey to artificially raise methylglyoxal levels.

AMHA has been conducting its own research on the correlation between MGO and healing, undertaking an inter-laboratory comparison programme intended to provide an internationally recognised standard in the near future…

1 comment:

Vyacheslav said...

Bashkir Bee Honey is a high quality product. We have conducted comparative test for its antibacterial activeness relative to Manuka Honey (UMF 10+).
Bashkir Bee Honey has a much stronger antibacterial action than the popular brand. You may review the results in the chart below and in the original documents in site http://info-bashkirbeehoney.com/analyse/analyse1.html