Friday, July 1, 2022

Credibility key for manuka exports

Manuka honey exporters are being encouraged to test their product prior to export following the identification of C4 sugar by the Consumer Council of Hong Kong.

“Federated Farmers, with others in the bee products industry, have been concerned about the identification of C4 sugar in manuka honey, and testing methods for some time,” Bees Industry Group committee member Peter Bell said.

“Manuka honey is different to other honeys; it causes a standard sugar test to inaccurately report contaminated samples. This is why the industry has invested money and effort to work with Dr Karyne Rogers of GNS Science, to evaluate the conventional test that has been used to date for accuracy with regard to manuka honey.

“This process has led to GNS Science developing a test which is now accepted by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists as suitably identifying C4 sugar contamination in honey.”

Peter Bell

Bees Industry Group committee member 

“This process has led to GNS Science developing a test which is now accepted by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists as suitably identifying C4 sugar contamination in honey.”

Results reported by GNS Science returned a 6% fail rate compared to 30% under the existing testing methods.

“We are concerned about the damage to our industry’s reputation from the few occasions where C4 sugars have been identified,” Bell said.

“Feeding sugar to bees is a common practice during periods of low floral resources, to build them up in preparation for honey flow. However, when using best practice for this method, there should be no contamination issue.

“We would encourage regulators and consumer organisations to use the newly developed GNS test when testing imported manuka samples or to have any failed manuka samples evaluated against the more contemporary test,” Bell said.

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