Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Medicinal Honey Standard Challenged

Waikato University ‘Standard’ Misleading
Press Release: Active Manuka Honey Association, 10/9/2009

The Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has slammed the release by Waikato University of a new standard for measuring non peroxide activity levels in Manuka honey as misleading. It also undermines an industry review that is currently underway.

John Rawcliffe, General Manager of AMHA said “The special antibacterial activity which has medical properties is well recognised in international research and has been firmly established in the minds of consumers since the early 1990s.”

“AMHA owns the UMF® and UNIQUE MANUKA FACTOR trademarks which are used to certify Manuka honey products. UMF® is more than a “test” of the activity of the honey. It is a comprehensive quality standard encompassing processing and quality standards required from the manufacturers and is aligned with food safety standards set by Government” said Mr Rawcliffe.

He said that the UMF® test is the only method validated and accredited by IANZ, the Independent Accreditation NZ; which is an autonomous Crown agency. Unlike UMF®, Waikato University’s so called “standard” is only a testing method and, if adopted, will give less and not more protection for consumers.

AMHA is concerned about the way in which this new brand will be monitored. Over the past year, one company has been stripped of its UMF® license. This company as part of its legal defence, tried to undermine the validity and accuracy of the UMF® test method. Such challenge to the accuracy of the UMF®test method has now been dropped, but only after the High Court was not prepared to uphold an application by the company to retain its licence based on expert evidence by Professor Molan. As the High Court recognized, AMHA “seriously challenged” Professor Molan’s evidence as lacking objectivity. Professor Molan had sought to defend the company despite test results that found 65% of the samples tested were not true to label.

Waikato University have challenged AMHA several times over control and ownership of the UMF® trademark, and failed. The University has formed an acrimonious relationship with AMHA and has further isolated itself from the manuka honey industry by publicly supporting a single brand and manufacturer of manuka honey – the very same manufacturer which was stripped of its UMF® license for failure to meet label claims and other industry standards…

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