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Moves to protect New Zealand manuka honey

Staff Writer |
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says it is essential to maintaining New Zealand manuka honey's premium position in overseas markets.

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The definition is part of a consultation package released today setting out proposed new requirements for the export of bee products.

"The proposed definition and export requirements are important for the continued growth of our important export honey industry," said Deputy Director-General, Bryan Wilson.

"Working with contracted experts, MPI has undertaken a 3-year programme to provide a science-based definition that can determine whether or not honey is authentic New Zealand manuka honey," he says.

"Our science programme has been carefully planned and executed and as a result the definition is robust, sophisticated and accurate," Mr Wilson said.

"This is important because questions have been raised in overseas markets about the authenticity of some honey being sold as New Zealand manuka honey."

Last year the police started to crack down on honey crime but in the past six months alone there have been about 400 reported thefts of beehives and honey - most of them in Northland, Auckland, Whanganui and Manawatu.

The police are characterising the connection between the rising number of thefts and the rising price of manuka honey as a "gold rush".

National community policing coordinator senior sergeant Alasdair Macmillan said in the past six months, police had noticed a spike in the number of crimes reported.

He said it suggested more people were taking the thefts more seriously.

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