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Why it's important to get Manuka bottled in NZ

Why it's important to get Manuka bottled in NZ

Is your manuka honey real? 

Why manuka bottled “at the source” can help ensure purity & potency.

Trying to find the right brand & strength of manuka honey for your needs can be really, really confusing. There is so much conflicting and, frankly, outright incorrect information out there it’s easy to become discouraged! 

Over the years, we’ve provided various guides as to what the numbers on the bottles mean, MGO vs UMF, and more but there is one key topic we’ve discovered that just isn’t talked about much - where your manuka honey is actually bottled!

The short(ish) answer is that New Zealand has strict regulations for manuka honey and acknowledges that it has unique, testable compounds (read: MGO) which give it medicinal benefits. The FDA, on the other hand, states that no honey (or food in general) can have health benefits and doesn’t recognize MGO as a medicinal compound.  This is despite the fact that there are hundreds of studies that have been done showcasing the amazing benefits of manuka honey and it’s even medically approved for use for burn and wound treatment & more.

It’s quite frustrating both for your clarity as a customer and for us, as a small family business trying to spread the word about the magic of manuka honey!

How does this impact the importance of where the manuka honey is bottled? New Zealand MPI, the agency responsible for food safety, quality &  import/export regulations, requires each batch of honey to be independently tested and checks those results against the label showing the honey’s strength and if it is multi-floral aka a blend. These regulations apply to honey leaving NZ both in individual jars and in bulk. However, once the bulk honey leaves NZ it is no longer under the MPI’s purview, meaning it can be mixed with other kinds of honey, sweeteners, etc., and labeled as any strength or type.

Even before manuka honey became well-known as a powerful superfood & topical agent NZ has had strict rules for food export. Once manuka honey became well-known and given its higher price point and scarcity, these regulations became even more specific as fake manuka honey began to flood the market. While there are some downsides to bottling in NZ such as higher packaging prices and lack of many packaging options, we feel that it is an important way for you as a customer, and for our own peace of mind, to ensure that our honey is of the highest quality and is exactly what it says it is.

To further ensure as few middlemen are in the process as possible PRI works with family-owned beekeepers who have their own on-site extraction, creaming & bottling equipment. As the original importer of manuka to the U.S. market over 30 years ago, we’ve even worked with more than one generation of beekeepers because they are simply the best!

You may ask how this applies to our line of Australian Manuka Honey. Currently, Australia does not have any regulations on manuka however, we apply the same testing and labeling methods as on our NZ manuka. Due to the lack of regulations & the size of the country (re: more production), Australian manuka does come in at a lower price point but, as with any manuka, you as a buyer should be diligent about ensuring the manuka honey you are purchasing is authentic.  


At PRI, we are proud to offer test results for ALL of our manuka honey upon request. Simply send your batch number to orders@pri-nz.com


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Australian Vs. New Zealand Manuka

Australian Vs. New Zealand Manuka

What is the difference?

The quick: 

Manuka was discovered in New Zealand and thought to occur only in NZ until much more recently. We now know Australia is host to over 80 species of Leptospermum, including the same plant - Leptospermum Scoparium - as is found in NZ. Because of this variety, along with other types of flora, Australian Manuka honey has a different flavor and color profile & is less likely to crystallize. Many prefer the taste of this Manuka. It also tends to be lower cost due to several factors. Read on if you want, not just the quick….. but also…

The dirty:

If you were to Google “Australia Vs. New Zealand,” you’d see many posts about which country is better to visit, which place to live, and a lot of information about their longstanding cricket & rugby rivalries.  What you won’t find much about is what we consider it’s most interesting & dare we say, dramatic rivalry, Manuka honey! 

Many might liken this not-so-friendly competition to the plight of Champagne, France, and America’s favorite celebratory tipple, champagne. Still, this story goes far beyond names & geography, reaching straight into the realm of the gods.

The Manuka plant is the stuff of  Maori legend, a child of the gods - Tane Mahuta and Tawake-toro- and placed under the care of the Maori people, a treasure they must protect. 

Due to this rich cultural history and the economic importance of Manuka honey in NZ, the NZ government has created stricter rules relating to the testing, labeling, and export of it. The NZ agency, MPI, adds their objection to "Australian Manuka" that not all species of Manuka are the same. MPI worries there could be consumer confusion and  fake or low-strength, falsely labeled Manuka flooding the market of non New Zealand Manuka honey. It is also essential to honor the Maori people and their language, beliefs, and history, which gives extra meaning even to the word “Manuka.” 

While Australia does not currently have the same cultural heritage with Manuka or  restrictions/requirements on Manuka honey it is also important to note that, no matter what they end up calling Manuka from Australia,, the plant holds the same benefits. Finding other sources of this fantastic medicinal compound will create more opportunities in the communities where it is being produced, tested, and jarred.

As a consumer, the critical factor to note is that any Manuka honey you purchase should have the active ingredient, MGO, level on the jar & accessible test results. 

Both our Australian & New Zealand Manuka lines at PRI meet the NZ MPI’s requirements. You can see test results for both lines via the QR code on our jar lids, so no matter which country your honey comes from, you know you are getting the real deal.

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