UMF honey protection to tighten up in China

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

China."

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."

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