Mānuka honey definition research is published in international science journal

Research undertaken and led by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to develop a scientifically robust definition for mānuka honey has just been published in a leading international scientific journal.

The paper, Using chemical and DNA marker analysis to authenticate a high-value food, mānuka honey, has been peer-reviewed and published in npj Science of Food.

Npj Science of Food is an online open access journal that publishes high-quality papers on food safety, security, production and packaging, and the influence of food on health and wellness. It is part of the Nature group, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific publishing groups.

“The work carried out by MPI to develop a scientific definition for mānuka honey is a worldwide first and very important for New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of high-quality food,” says Bryan Wilson, head of New Zealand Food Safety at MPI.

“This reputation is based on a track record of producing food that stands up to the expectations of local and overseas markets.  All mānuka honey for export has to be tested against and meet MPI’s definition.

“Publication of this research in npj Science of Food is further endorsement of the 3 years of scientific work that went into developing the definition.

New Zealand’s export markets, including consumers, could be confident the New Zealand mānuka honey they buy is authentic, Mr Wilson says.

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Govt’s new forestry agency enters Mānuka partnership as part of grand planting plan

Te Uru Rākau – the name the Government has given to its newly established forestry service – will partner with Mānuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million mānuka trees across New Zealand this year, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The Government has a target to plant one billion trees over the next ten years.

“Doing this will require innovation and genuine partnerships with the private sector, local councils, iwi and NGOs,” Mr Jones said.

“Te Uru Rākau will provide up to $1.8 million to Mānuka Farming New Zealand to source seedlings, work with landowners to undertake site assessments to assess land suitability, and provide an overall planting plan.

“Seedlings will then be provided free of charge to landowners who proceed with planting. Individual assessments to assess land suitability for establishing Mānuka plantations will take place this month and next and planting will occur from July to September.”

Mānuka is a valued native forest species and plantations can help prevent erosion as well as providing diversified income streams and environmentally sustainable land-use options for landowners, Mr Jones said.

Products from Manuka, such as honey and oil, are in high and increasing demand both domestically and globally.

The planting plan will take into account the suitability of available land for production of Mānuka honey, readiness for planting this winter, and availability of suitable Mānuka cultivars.

Mānuka Farming New Zealand will buy most of the seedlings from Kauri Park Nurseries and already has 100,000 seedlings available.

Landowners will need to cover the costs of dispatching the seedlings from the nursery, pest and weed control, fencing if required, planting costs and post-plant monitoring.

This approach extends to the funding of initial consultancy services to landowners via Mānuka Farming New Zealand.

“This will include confirmation of sites suitable for Manuka, ensuring effective pest control is in place, land preparation can be completed in time for planting, seedlings are matched to the available site and confirmation that labour for planting is available,” Mr Jones said.

Landowners who are interested in this initiative are advised to contact Mānuka Farming New Zealand directly.

Source: Minister of Forestry

GNS scientist’s test confirms the purity of manuka honey

Laboratory testing procedures in importing countries, which were failing manuka honey from New Zelaand, have been found to be flawed giving a higher ‘apparent’ cane sugar level than it actually contains.

An investigation by GNS Science isotope scientist Karyne Rogers has shown the internationally accepted laboratory test designed to detect cane sugar adulteration of honey was often giving false-positive results and causing problems for manuka honey in overseas markets.

A media release from GNS Science said Dr Rogers had developed a modified procedure to give more accurate and reliable results for manuka honey. So far the United States is the only country to adopt the new test criteria. Other countries are expected to follow.

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