Closer alignment with International honey standards urged

Closer alignment with International honey standards urged
According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest and most technically advanced honey brand, the Interim Labelling Guide for Manuka Honey that was released by the Ministry of Primary Industries last week needs to become closer aligned to the CODEX International Standard for Honey if the aim is to regulate the industry and restore global trust.
The Codex Commission is a group run by the United Nations FAO and represents countries with over 99 percent of the world’s population. According to CODEX, honey may be designated according to a floral or plant source if it comes wholly or mainly from that particular source and has the organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic properties corresponding with that origin.
“This means manuka must taste like manuka, have a sugar spectrum, mineral levels and pollen content consistent with manuka and be undamaged by heat (HMF levels below 40mg/kg),” explains Peter Bray, Managing Director of Airborne Honey. “Based on longstanding research manuka should contain in excess of 70% manuka pollen to be classified as manuka honey.”
Although the MPI guidelines refer to some elements consistent with CODEX, the guideline’s requirement for the presence of manuka type pollen fails to meet the CODEX requirement for “microscopic properties corresponding with that origin”, the most important identification tool in the CODEX standard. The presence of Methylglyoxal (MG), a single unstable chemical marker not required by the International Standard has also been included.
“MG has been included after extensive lobbying by those that only measure this chemical,” says Peter. “Other countries already applying the CODEX to manuka honey do not use MG for good reason. It forms from another precursor substance (dihydroxyacetone) that varies widely in manuka nectar, changes at different rates over time and eventually disappears. Current research show that high levels of MG can be found in natural or man made blends containing less than 20% pure manuka honey. Additionally MG can be found in other plant species, meaning it is not unique to manuka and the precursor in manuka nectar is a readily available pharmaceutical ingredient used as the key active ingredient in sunless tanning products.”
“The Interim Labelling Guide for Manuka Honey as it currently stands will not provide consumers or overseas regulators with the assurance that a honey is “wholly or mainly” manuka – they key phrase in the Codex honey standard, the EU honey directive and the UK Honey standards,” adds Peter.
Airborne Honey will continue to adhere to the CODEX International standard for Honey and hopes that the Interim Labelling Guide for Manuka Honey will be aligned closer to the already established and globally recognised Standard.
“It was always going to be a challenge, with so many opinions and different interests involved,” Peter explains. “With exports growing from $11 million in 2000 to $170 million last year and on track to $200 million this year it is clear there are significant financial drivers to the process. We hope that as the interim guide is reviewed over the coming months, it will become more robust and increasingly reflect the proven parameters in the International Standard for Honey. If the guidelines evolve in this way, consumers will eventually enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by Airborne’s current customers – a guarantee that the contents match the label.”
“Airborne Honey has been meeting and exceeding the CODEX International Standard for over 25 years and will continue to do so,” says Peter. “Each batch of honey that arrives and leaves the Airborne premises is tested for multiple parameters in our lab to ensure it meets the CODEX requirements. With manuka, this means it contains at least 70% manuka pollen and has HMF (heat damage) levels below 40mg/kg.”
To provide even greater transparency and honey quality education, Airborne Honey is launching a new online tool called “TraceMe”. A world first, it enables users to either scan a batch specific QR code on the jar or enter the batch code online and see all the data associated with that jar of honey. This includes HMF levels, the sugar profile, pollen percentage and even a map pinpointing the location of the beehives. To use the application, go to or scan the attached code with a smartphone:
Fuseworks Media
Monday, 4 August, 2014 – 11:25


Health benefits of Honey


Health Benefits of Honey

Before I get into talking about all of the wonderful benefits of honey, I want to make sure I’m specific about the kind of honey I’m advocating. To experience any real benefit from it, make sure that first and foremost it’s raw / UMF honey. Most of what you buy in a grocery store will have been heated to remove any “impurities” and to keep it from crystallizing which is supposedly more attractive to consumers. Heating raw honey destroys enzymes and basically turns it into a simple sugar without many nutritional or medicinal perks.

Ulcers and Digestive Problems

Raw / UMF honey has widely been reported to potentially prevent, cure or alleviate symptoms of a wide variety of health problems affecting the mucous membranes of the body including stomach ulcers, mouth and throat ulcers that result from radiation treatment for cancers of the head and neck and (read on) sinuses and sore throats due to colds or allergies. Bastyr Center for Natural Health reported a study finding that people receiving radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck were significantly less likely to suffer from ulcers when given 4 teaspoons of honey 15 minutes prior to treatment, 15 minutes after treatment and then again six hours later. These types of ulcers are the reason that many people quit their radiation treatment as it can make eating difficult or impossible.
Studies in New Zealand have shown that raw Manuka honey was effective in killing the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is said to be the cause of most stomach ulcers. This is thought to be due to the antibacterial properties of the honey.

Wound and Burn Dressing

The pH of raw honey (between 3.2 and 4.5) along with antibacterial, antiseptic and many other properties make it a superior dressing for wounds and burns. Honey is excellent as a wound dressing as it cleans pus and dead tissue from infections, suppresses inflammation and stimulates growth of new tissue. It also shortens healing time and minimizes scarring.
Manuka honey is a honey from New Zealand that comes from the Manuka flower of the Tea Tree and has recently enjoyed much praise as a cure for and even prevention of Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This honey by itself and also in combination with antibiotics has undeniably saved lives that would not have otherwise been saved. That’s pretty awesome.


People suffering from seasonal allergies may find relief in a daily dose of raw local honey. Because honey is made from the nectar of plants and trees likely causing your symptoms, some say that it acts in a way that is similar to an allergy shot; exposing you to miniscule amounts of pollen and propolis that over time encourage your body to build a tolerance to the very plants and trees that are causing your symptoms.
For this purpose, make sure the honey is local and also ask the beekeeper about their filtering process. You’ll benefit more from a honey that is strained but not super filtered. That way you can get all of the bits of pollen, propolis and wax that you’re after. When it comes to filtering, less is more!

Colds, Sore Throat and Blocked Sinuses

Just about everyone knows that honey soothes a sore throat but did you know that a study from Penn State Medical College in 2007 showed that honey is more effective in treating coughs and sore throats than the leading over the counter remedies containing dextromethorphan? Next time you’re under the weather try honey first and see how it treats you.


Hangovers are said to be caused by the production of ethanal in the body. Honey replenishes sodium, potassium and fructose which aids in recovery. Fructose also acts as a sobering agent by speeding the oxidation of alcohol in the liver. So next time you’ve had one too many, take a tablespoon of honey.

I’m not writing about anything new here. Throughout ancient history you will find that pretty much all cultures and religions documented the importance of honey in healing countless physical, mental and spiritual ailments. So what better way to start your day than with a spoonful of this divine nectar?

7/22/2014 4:36:00 PM
By Lindsay Williamson

When will we take medicinal honey seriously?

bee & hive

Before you ask, yes, we do sell medical honey at

Honey is now regularly being shown to kill superbugs in the laboratory and save patient’s limbs on hospital wards, but why is its medicinal use still so limited in the UK?
The antibacterial properties of honey have long been known, both ancient Greek and Egyptian physicians are said to have valued it and it was used in the treatment of wounds right up to World War Two.
Honey’s reputation was relegated to that of an old wives’ tale in the twentieth century after the discovery of penicillin heralded the widespread use of antibiotic drugs to combat infections.
But with antibiotic resistance now high on the global agenda, scientists and doctors are working together to once more prove honey’s effectiveness in battling life-threatening bacteria.
Researchers say honey has been successful in treating severe wounds including ulcers, pressure sores, trauma injuries and infected surgical wounds – reducing the reliance on antibiotics and providing an alternative to antiseptics which can harm healing tissue.

leg ulcer


Engineered honey successfully treated a patient who was facing amputation due to large ischaemic ulcers which had become infected with pseudomonas bacteria.
Filtered or medical-grade honey is used in licensed wound-care products around the world. However large-scale randomised clinical trials have yet to take place in this country so its use remains low compared with other wound treatments like silver and iodine.
Those looking into its curative potential claim this may be due to it being a natural product which attracts scepticism from medical scientists. Organisations which fund medical research say no such stigma exists, grant applications simply need to be robust.
Sam Edwards says Manuka honey dressings healed painful wounds caused by a rare skin condition.
Sam Edwards, a maintenance engineer from Wrexham, Wales, is a recent convert to the power of honey, after developing a rare skin condition caused by a cut from a koi carp infected with Mycobacterium marinum.
“The pain is like having a bath in a deep fat fryer 24 hours a day,” Sam said. “It put me in a wheelchair for a long time as well as meaning long stays in hospital and mechanical dermabrasion.”
Antibiotics caused jaundice and doctors began to talk about multiple amputations so Sam looked around for alternative treatments and tried everything from steroids to maggots but nothing worked.
In December 2012 Sam was introduced to manuka honey dressings by a street doctor from Venezuela. By January 2014 Sam had found a UK supplier and began the treatment.

Prof Cooper’s long-standing research has focussed on honey from the New Zealand manuka plant
“It has turned my life around. It hurts a little bit the first time you use it but in the space of five months I am almost completely healed, it’s amazing,” Sam said.
Manuka honey comes from the New Zealand manuka plant and has been available on prescription in the UK for the last 10 years.
Professor Rose Cooper, from the Centre for Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has been at the forefront of its research since the late 1990s.
Using electron microscopy, which can reveal the structure of bacteria, she has shown even low concentrations of the honey stops bacteria including MRSA growing, meaning cells cannot divide and therefore are unable to form infections.
Combining honey with oxacillin and other antibiotics has also been shown to be more effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Professor Rose Cooper shows how honey stops bacteria growing and therefore prevents infection.
She is currently investigating how different bacteria seem to be affected in different ways by manuka honey, believing it to have a wider application than just killing bugs.
Prof Cooper said she has often found it difficult to get her research published but admits the scientific standards of clinical work with honey has been varied.
“One of the problems is a good clinical trial should be a double blind so that neither the patient nor the practitioner will know which of the patients are having the intervention that’s being tested,” she said.
“The trouble with honey is the patients know its sticky, they can smell it, and of course the practitioners know too, so it’s very difficult to achieve that best quality.”
In a clinical setting, research has so far been small-scale, but dramatic results have been reported.
Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant in infection and microbiology at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has seen a number of patients’ wounds transformed by honey.
The smart skills behind honey

He uses an engineered version, called Surgihoney, as a wound dressing after carrying out laboratory tests against bacteria gathered from infected wounds.
Surgihoney killed all of the bugs including multiple drug-resistant ones like MRSA, Ecoli and pseudomonas aeruginos and its effects were comparable to commonly-used antiseptics, which can have adverse side effects.
“There was one man with an ischaemic leg, where it was really a choice between amputating the leg and/or giving him potent systemic antibiotics,” Dr Dryden told BBC Nature.
“The ulcer was heavily colonised with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a nasty, often resistant bug so we put daily (Surgihoney) dressings on the ulcer.
“By day eight the bacteria had completely disappeared and the ulcer had started to get better, so for the time being it had saved his leg, it prevented him from having antibiotics and got him out of hospital.”
Dr Dryden has also shown that the product can reduce infection rates following caesarean sections and also those associated with cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment through intravenous lines.
Like Prof Cooper, Dr Dryden also believes honey products have more potential uses and would like to carry out full randomised trials.
But an application for funding to carry out such research was rejected by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
“Despite all the publicity about antibiotic resistance, using a so-called natural product is not terribly sexy, scientifically,” Dr Dryden said. “There’s a lot of snake oil salesmen out there who claim all sorts of things for all sorts of natural products.

The idea for Surgihoney came from Ian Staples’ bee hives in Chile
“But we’ve actually got more patient data than many wound dressing treatments. I think because its honey it seems a bit alternative and that puts the scientists off.”
High quality trials could also be carried out by big wound care companies. The father and son team behind Surgihoney are talking to several firms about developing it commercially.
The idea began on a farm in Chile owned by former managing director Ian Staples. Having decided to keep bees on the farm he spotted that the honey they produced did not spoil in the hive, suggesting natural antimicrobial activity.
In fact, an enzyme inside honey produces hydrogen peroxide which is a well-known disinfectant.
Ian and his son, Stuart, who now live in West Sussex, commissioned scientists to develop a product which boosted the antibacterial properties of any organic honey.
“When we first started this the doctors we worked with said this was as big a breakthrough as penicillin,” Stuart Staples said. “Whether it is or not that’s why we bet the farm on it.”
New funding

Hive alive

He estimates that health organisations in the UK currently spend less than £3 million ($5.1 million USD) a year on honey dressings, compared with £16 million ($27.2 million USD) spent annually by the NHS on antiseptic silver products.
“Dr Margaret Chan from the World Health Organisation said in the future a scratched knee could kill you and we’re saying ‘no it couldn’t’ because we have a device that no bug can survive contact with,” Mr Staples said.
Organisations which fund medical research in the UK say all grant applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Britain’s reputation as a world leader in science, research and development depends upon innovative approaches to improving treatments and finding new cures.
“The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including in this case, the use of honey as an antimicrobial agent.”
The Wellcome Trust said it has not funded any research into honey but said this could be for a variety of reasons including no bids being made, bids not being relevant to the funding criteria or the science not being of high enough quality.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) said it had also not funded any studies with honey but that did not mean it would not do so in the future.
It added that it is currently inviting bids for funding as part of a new collaboration between all seven UK research councils to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Hive Alive concludes on BBC Two, Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 20:00 BST.



Are you being conned??

Are you being conned??
Do you know the difference between Active and UMF?
Do you know why UMF honey is more expensive?
Are you spending your hard earned cash on fake or mislabelled honey?

We at Pure Manuka Honey will never mislead you into buying honey that isn’t what it says it is, or that plays on the fact that people are easily confused between Active and UMF rates of honey! NEVER will we take your money for something that isn’t what it appears to be!

If you read the newspaper you will have seen great big adverts for 20+ active honey at cut prices – sometimes even half price and a free prezzie to boot! Bargain you may think – think again!

Do you think the 20+ sign on the front means it has a healing UMF rating of 20+? If so, you’d be wrong! This is an active honey, pretty much the same as Sainsburys active honey, all lovely honey, but it may not be what your looking for.

In fact so interested was I to find out about how their honey is certified ‘20+ active’ I gave them a call and asked. I was told “I’m only in sales I wouldn’t know how they do any of their testing, all I know is that its tested, before its put in the bottles.”*

Really? They make so much money they can place half / full page adds in the newspapers, but not train their staff to answer the simplest – but most critical – of questions. There just there to sell.

Im not happy about this situation and will be sharing more of my finds.

time and date of call (14:26 04/07/2014)