The protection of New Zealand’s lucrative UMF Honey exports
to China has moved a step closer, with the signing this week of a
memorandum of understanding between The Jiangsu Entry and Exit
Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of the People's Republic of China
(CIQ) and the UMF Honey Association (UMFHA).
UMFHA General Manager, John Rawcliffe said the main intent of the
memorandum involves both parties working together to implement
laboratory testing of Manuka honey in China to ensure the validity
of product sold there.
"Since signing the memorandum, the UMFHA and its key partner in
Singapore - AsureQuality - have been working with technicians from
the CIQ which is the Chinese Government-run agency that tests food
and veterinary products entering the country.
"We’ve been providing assistance and support for introducing
testing procedures for assessing the Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA) in
imported products using the established bio-assay and chemical
marker," Mr Rawcliffe said.
"We’ve also provided expertise in the area of putting
procedures in place, at a later date, to determine if product has
been adulterated. This occurs when when Methylglyoxal or DHA is
artificially added to honey."
Mr Rawcliffe said as a result of the work done by the UMFHA in
China, all honey claiming to have NPA or any descriptor comparing
to NPA now entering the country would be subject to the new testing
regime before it can be released for sale.
"Furthermore, the CIQ will be carrying out random audits of product
in the market place."
Mr Rawcliffe said the CIQ had also signed a UMF Lab Agreement which
allows it to use the UMF quality mark.
"This is another significant milestone as it will undoubtedly work
to further strengthen and protect Manuka honey products sold in
CIQ Director Professor Zhang Rui said he was pleased to be working
with the UMFHA to protect consumer interests in China.
"This unique honey product is well recognised in China and can
command a premium, in terms of pricing. Our partnership with the
UMFHA will ensure that the appropriate analytical methods are in
place to ensure this natural product is true to label when it
appears on shelf."
Mr Rawcliffe said in recent times, New Zealand Manuka honey was
increasingly becoming a major focus for the CIQ, due to the high
volume of product that was appearing for sale there.
The agreement with CIQ now locks in most major markets, outside of
New Zealand, where Manuka honey is sold. The UMFHA currently works
with AsureQuality Singapore and FERA in the UK to ensure product
sold there is true to label.
"The opportunity now exists to use this global network as a
catalyst to have the NPA Manuka Standard recognised worldwide and
to have the UMFHA recognised as the leader in its field."