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 firstname.lastname@example.org