Tuesday, April 22, 2008

UMF, MGO Honey Labeling Debate Heats Up in New Zealand

Honey Products Health Benefits Under Dispute
By Kathy Graham, Waikato Times (New Zealand), 4/22/2008

A Waikato producer of manuka honey-based products is in a dispute over their claimed health benefits.

Industry group Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) is demanding that Manuka Health NZ Ltd, from Te Awamutu, pull its honey products from the shelves because, it says, the company can't prove the products contain UMF (unique manuka factor).

But the Te Awamutu company is refusing and says it is a dispute over whose research to believe.

Manuka Health NZ Ltd funded German research which showed a natural compound, methylglyoxal, is responsible for manuka honey's unique antibacterial properties. The company says the research has identified a compound which can be easily checked with an objective scientific test. Laboratory studies have shown that UMF manuka honey is effective against a wide range of very resistant bacteria including the major wound-infecting bacteria and the stomach ulcer causing bacteria helicobacter pylori.

Honey companies which label their products UMF, which is the registered name and trademark of AMHA, base their claims on the UMF "phytochemical agent" identified by Waikato University biochemist Professor Peter Molan…

Dr Molan, who is co-director of the Honey Research Unit at Waikato University, expressed concern about the claims being made by Manuka Health NZ.

"They only give you a chemical analysis of how much MGO (methylglyoxal) is in the honey. It does not tell you the antibacterial activity."...

For background on this issue, see:

Paul: MGO Manuka Honey Level is Consumer Friendly
Molan: MGO Level Not Good Indicator of Honey’s Antibacterial Activity

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