Due to the increasing demand for honey, as well as expensive Manuka honey, authenticity testing has been gaining increased prevalence in the media. Coupled with an increasing public awareness of food fraud, Fera can offer the brand protection and due diligence services you require.
A selection of recent news articles showcasing Fera's authenticity testing for Manuka products, online and in print, are summarised below.
One in seven pots of honey in Europe could have been 'adulterated' with added sugar, a new report has warned.
Tests on 863 samples collected in Europe by the European Commission's Joint Research found 14% did not conform to the benchmark purity criteria for honey, indicating that foreign sugars 'may have been added'.
Commonly sold in health shops and believed by some to have a wide range of healing properties, the thick, dark-brown honey is supposed to be made from the nectar of bees that forage in Manuka bushes found mainly in New Zealand.
However, any claims to being a health food are not accepted by New Zealand and British officials, and there has long been suspicion that cheaper honeys have been mislabelled as Manuka to fetch higher prices, not least because an estimated 10,000 tons of supposed Manuka honey is sold around the world each year.
New Zealand produces only 1700 tons of the real thing.
The new research was conducted by Fera, a privately run British science agency that has produced the world’s first test able to identify fake Manuka.
The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) has developed a system that uses compounds to validate Manuka honey as genuine, after a rise in fake Manuka honey was sold in UK markets.
A new method of authenticating Manuka honey using signature compounds has been discovered by UMFHA and Fera Science UK, as they move to eliminate the spread of fake honey being sold.
Adrian Charlton, Fera Science biochemist and head of the food quality and safety programme told FoodNavigator that this new method was more reliable than previous ones.
"Leptosperin is unique to the nectar of the Manuka bush and can only be found in Manuka honey. Leptosperin is a very stable molecule but is not easy to make and add to honey. Dihydroxacetone (DHA) and Methlyglyoxal (MGO) have been used for a long time as indicators of Manuka honey authenticity but these are not good markers on their own as they can easily be added to the honey but are not stable over time."
The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA), the independent industry body for Manuka honey, has announced that it has validated a number of unique signature compounds found only in genuine Manuka honey. These findings are the result of over five years of scientific research with UK-based Fera Science and other international research contributors. The project was undertaken in response to reports questioning the integrity of some honey on the market labelled as Manuka. Its popularity and limited availability has led to reports of more Manuka honey being sold than is actually produced.
It is the secret fear that stalks the aisles of health food shops and the dark heart gnawing at the centre of Gwyneth Paltrow's wellbeing empire: what if the Manuka honey that costs £100 a kilo and can allegedly cure colds and fight infections isn't real?
Manuka retailers are fighting back. Shocked into action by statistics showing mass honey-laundering, they have developed a set of tests to identify the real thing. Fera Science, a UK laboratory, working with the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, has for the first time identified signature compounds unique to the New Zealand honey, enabling spot checks to identify impostors.
Scientists are hailing a "breakthrough" in the fight against fake Manuka honey thanks to a new authenticity test that can establish conclusively if it's the real thing.
Researchers have developed a 'fingerprint' test for genuine Manuka after establishing more than 200 signature compounds that - in combination - are unique to authentic Manuka honey.