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Aussies create Australian Manuka Honey Association

Manuka HoneyAustralian honey industry has formed the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA). It follows the recent move by New Zealand producers to trademark the word Manuka.

AMHA opposes any attempts to monopolise international naming or market rights. They will focus its efforts on product promotion, accuracy in labelling, protection of plant material and fostering growth of the local industry.

“Despite the fact the plant grows natively in Australia and we produce 100 percent Manuka honey here in Australia, New Zealand honey producers have countered that the word, the plant and the honey are all 100 per cent Kiwi derived,” according to Paul Callander, managing director of ManukaLife and AMHA inaugural chairman.

“The fact is New Zealand has only one species of Manuka, whereas Australia has more than 80 Manuka species, including a number of sources with exceptionally high levels of antibacterial activity. What is even more amusing about their Trademark claim against Australia is that the one Leptospermum species used in New Zealand to produce Manuka honey has been shown to have migrated from Australia.  Most likely from Tasmania, where it grows naturally and has been involved in honey production since colonisation and the introduction of the European honey bee in 1831.”

Callander said they have gathered a panel of industry experts including leading scientific experts, the Honeybee Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Government Intellectual Property officials and Australia’s honey packers to Australia’s right to promote its native Manuka honey.

“The Australian Manuka Honey Association will strive to ensure Australia’s Manuka honey gets a fair go in the global marketplace and the new association is determined to protect the integrity and reputation of Australian Manuka Honey,” added Callander.

AMHA said early all of Australia’s leading Manuka honey producers, including ASX listed Capilano Honey Limited and Australian Honey Bee Industry Council are backing the newly-formed association. Australian Manuka honey is derived from the native species of Leptospermum plants. It’s a popular product in pharmacy and supermarket shelves because of its scientifically approved health benefits.

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