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jamesc

Manuka Bombshell

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Oh dear. It looks like we are done, doomed and dusted with dreams of wealth shattered.

Today we received back some highly sensitive information from MPI -the results of honey submitted for the manuka honey testing program.

It's honey we've gathered for years from the secret spot and sold in retail packs throughout the United Kingdom as New Zealand Manuka honey, gathered by the bees for your health .....

 

MPI test results classify it as "Non Manuka".

 

The only word that comes to mind is unprintable and highly moderated.

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I doubt you will be alone. Did it have good activity?

 

I know one beekeeper selling manuka that I'm sure is actually kanuka.

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Well yes .... it came in with a UMF of 9, which is not great, but not shabby. I know of bees that have been flown in and come out with a crop of UMF 2.

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Really? A 9 UMF Not Manuka according to MPI?

I don't know how they determine UMF but surely it reflects Mg/Kg of Leptospermum, DHA & MGO?

Or is it a case of just not enough of the new MPI Manuka indicators? There is still actually some Manuka present?

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I've got a little bit of manuka comb honey left which is as pure as you're ever going to get. I think I will send some off for a test and see what they say. I wonder if they have really taken into account the genetic diversity of manuka, I was looking at some Northland plants today (in Hawke's Bay) and they were just about to burst into flower. They are very different plants from our local manuka.

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I can see legal action starting sharpish with a court order stopping them in their tracks until anomalies are sorted out.

Will cost a few bob.

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I've got a little bit of manuka comb honey left which is as pure as you're ever going to get. I think I will send some off for a test and see what they say. I wonder if they have really taken into account the genetic diversity of manuka, I was looking at some Northland plants today (in Hawke's Bay) and they were just about to burst into flower. They are very different plants from our local manuka.

 

We've had manuka flowering over the past month or so in the area North of Auckland, not that there is enough of it to take advantage of it.

 

As I understand it, MPI took over 150 samples from through-out NZ.

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Maby I should send in some clover to be checked... Ya never know!

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Ali, you can buy mgo and dha off the shelf, so I am told, so no they should not be used as a marker to see if the honey has come from a manuka tree, but by all means they can be used to tell how active that honey is

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didn't mpi take the ridiculous approach of using honey samples labelled 'manuka' as the benchmark rather than doing some decent work to get some confirmed mono-floral? amusing thing is that if the majority of the honey available that is labelled 'manuka' is in fact non-manuka, then the tests they have created will identified mono-floral manuka as non-manuka, and fake-manuka as manuka....

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Maby I should send in some clover to be checked... Ya never know!

i suspect there will be a bunch of honey from apiaries nowhere near any manuka that will qualify as manuka under this new standard.. and a bunch of legitimately mono-floral manuka that will fail.

 

for mpi not to do an initial screen for at least presence/absence of manuka-like pollen in the honey samples they used is beyond incompetent

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We actually sent in three samples .... manuka, a clover, and a honey dew. Not unsurprisingly, the clover and dew came back non manuka .... yes really, but the DNA Cq values were all the same.

What I'm picking is that most of the manuka we thought we had produced was in actual fact kanuka, which again is interesting as the block is on the market as a manuka block.

I can see 'trouble at mill.' I can also see we gonna need a manual to learn how to decipher the science. And I can also see were gonna have to renegotiate some contracts quite radically.

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Ali, you can buy mgo and dha off the shelf, so I am told, so no they should not be used as a marker to see if the honey has come from a manuka tree, but by all means they can be used to tell how active that honey is

Yes agreed, in the previous world of "Manuka" honey these have been useful & possible still so but not as you say, a sound marker.

UMF may be blown clean out of the water too.

Surely surely no one would have shelf product samples to determine future markers......would they??? The acids (or some of them) have been known for some time (not all new science) and how do you argue with DNA unless of course the recognised range is not adequate. Surely MPI have covered this off??

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And I can also see were gonna have to renegotiate some contracts quite radically.

Could spell the end of extortionate land owner payments.

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As a young guy, when manuka was regarded as a rubbish honey, I spent 2 years working in the far north. The boss had spent most of his life struggling financially because manuka, the main crop, which was difficult to extract with the technology of the day, wasn't worth much either.

 

Bees that needed feeding got manuka because it was the cheapest stuff.

 

However I did learn what manuka tastes like. I've sampled a number of supermarket manukas over the last few years and got to say, have not thought they taste a whole lot like pure manuka. Mostly you can tell there's a bit of manuka in there, but definately to me tastes like mostly something else.

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I reckon real strong Manuka almost burns your mouth, kind of like hot peppermints.

I stumbled across some good stuff by chance, I didn't get very much, and I've never had anything nearly like it since.

It was 12 when I got it and grew to 18.

 

I think the standard sucks, but I don't think it makes much difference to me, I'm not a Manuka producer.

 

I always thought the Manuka boom was the worst possible thing that could ever happen for bee health.

I might have been wrong, the Manuka bust will probably be worse.

So I suppose here it comes.

 

I think that this Manuka standard has irreparably damaged the beekeeping industry, and to be honest I'm generally disgusted by the government currently so I expect nothing less than disappointment and dissatisfaction.

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I agree Alastair, I recently tasted a Manuka Bush Blend that tasted mostly of clover! New standards are called for but whether the latest issue is the one or not I don't pretend to know.

I wouldn't burn the hives yet as I'm sure Kanuka and other varieties will be getting a new launch & spin as things change. Those blocks/site tht do produce the real thing (whatever that is!) will be incredibly sought after I imagine.

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For the record, I believe part of the process was netting a whole mess of Manuka plants and having the bees collect 'pure manuka'....

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I reckon real strong Manuka almost burns your mouth, kind of like hot peppermints.

I stumbled across some good stuff by chance, I didn't get very much, and I've never had anything nearly like it since.

It was 12 when I got it and grew to 18.

 

I think the standard sucks, but I don't think it makes much difference to me, I'm not a Manuka producer.

 

I always thought the Manuka boom was the worst possible thing that could ever happen for bee health.

I might have been wrong, the Manuka bust will probably be worse.

So I suppose here it comes.

 

I think that this Manuka standard has irreparably damaged the beekeeping industry, and to be honest I'm generally disgusted by the government currently so I expect nothing less than disappointment and dissatisfaction.

Why such a strong negative reaction to the new standards @Daley?? Were you in favour of the old ways or did you have something else in mind??

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We actually sent in three samples .... manuka, a clover, and a honey dew. Not unsurprisingly, the clover and dew came back non manuka .... yes really, but the DNA Cq values were all the same.

What I'm picking is that most of the manuka we thought we had produced was in actual fact kanuka, which again is interesting as the block is on the market as a manuka block.

I can see 'trouble at mill.' I can also see we gonna need a manual to learn how to decipher the science. And I can also see were gonna have to renegotiate some contracts quite radically.

So just to clarify - the actual sample you sent in tested as a 9 umf or has the block historically produced 9 umf?? If it was indeed Kanuka as you suggested I can't see how it could have a 9 umf test result.

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Really? A 9 UMF Not Manuka according to MPI?

I don't know how they determine UMF but surely it reflects Mg/Kg of Leptospermum, DHA & MGO?

Could it be there was enough manuka present to get the UMF up to 9, but enough of whatever else for them to pronounce it not manuka?

 

The interesting thing here is that what origionally started the manuka hype, and what people were paying for, was UMF. Whatever the honey was, UMF made the price. Now looking like wether or not it's manuka, UMF benefits, or not.

 

In any case, looking like kanuka has more genuine benefits than manuka. Just different, and just needing some marketing.

 

Something else MPI looking at, branding manuka to NZ. Much like champagne is branded to France.

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Could it be there was enough manuka present to get the UMF up to 9, but enough of whatever else for them to pronounce it not manuka?

 

The interesting thing here is that what origionally started the manuka hype, and what people were paying for, was UMF. Whatever the honey was, UMF made the price. Now looking like wether or not it's manuka, UMF benefits, or not.

 

In any case, looking like kanuka has more genuine benefits than manuka. Just different, and just needing some marketing.

 

Something else MPI looking at, branding manuka to NZ. Much like champagne is branded to France.

Yes agree that umf is the so called "magic bullet" and is/was the price setter. I suggest it still will be with the addition of the new testing model to keep it all above board. Not so sure I agree on your statement re Kanuka having more genuine benefits. Maybe I've missed something but previous research that I saw proved nothing. I'm sure if there was something tangible to put out to the market the likes of Comvita and co would be onto it in a flash.

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Some clinical research is actually being done on kanuka honey:

 

HoneyLab

 

The researcher is also in the business, but it looks quite kosher.

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i do remember eating manuka honey years ago when it was really strong and avoided it.

when it became popular recently and tried it again it was much milder and i thought my memory was wrong about how it used to taste.

when i first came to golden bay in 1980 the place was just starting to regenerate the bush from all the farming and burn offs so for a few years manuka was every where.

i think the manuka has been overgrown now with other species so the honey is not so pure manuka and is milder now.

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Some clinical research is actually being done on kanuka honey:

 

HoneyLab

 

The researcher is also in the business, but it looks quite kosher.

Yes very aware of Shaun Holt and his research. The fact that he has a vested interest makes me more than a little sceptical. I'm pretty sure Comvita commissioned some research awhile back and drew a blank. Would love to think Kanuka does have unique beneficial properties - but I have my doubts. More than happy to be proved wrong!!!

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