Genuine Pure, Raw, Unpasteurised Honey
As it stands today, companies importing honey including Manuka honey do not have to indicate on the label if the honey is pasteurised or not, nor do they have to conduct a pollen count analysis to determine if the honey is true to its label. This led Dr Mercola, a New York Times bestselling author, to expose the subject in an article published in January of 2012. This coverage leads to question the honey sold onto UK soil with the following remark: “The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.” In a nutshell, without a pollen count, there is no way to know if the honey is genuine, coming from a specific country or from a specific plant. In fact, it could be easily blended or mixed, so no one would know where this “base” comes from or if it has been manipulated in any way.
For the last decades, the manuka honey industry has been plagued with confusing and elaborate marketing schemes, that have simplified the complexity of Manuka honey, ignoring crucial factors that contribute to the qualities and superiority of Manuka. Instead of relying on a synergetic reaction that makes up the DNA of Manuka, the attention of the consumer has been diverted towards one single component, methylgyloxal, but research shows that a greater level of methylglyoxal, associated with the uniqueness of Manuka honey actually can rapidly destroy some of the therapeutic components found in this honey, including its antioxidant properties, vitamins and minerals.
In addition, consumers also should be aware that the methylglyoxal levels can be manually increased by the beekeepers with the addition of the chemical DHA by either adding it to the honey or feeding it to the bees. A recent document published by the Ministry of Primary Industries in New Zealand discusses how the New Zealand government could potentially regulate Manuka honey. MPI indicates in its report that policing this manipulation would be extremely hard to do and the discussions seem to have halted after a clash between the Manuka honey lobbyists and MPI.
To enjoy health benefits of honey research shows that pure, fresh, raw, unpasteurised honey is key. As a consumer, if you do not see these terms on the label, one has to assume that the honey has been manipulated in some way. In addition, consumers should also pay attention to NON-GMO labelling. Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods, mandates that products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as ingredients will require special labelling in all Whole Foods Market stores by 2018. While the majority of Manuka honeys claim to be NON-GMO, it only requires 5% of GMO crops to contaminate an organic or non-gmo crop to lose its capacity to advertise the NON-GMO on a label. So, it is important to rely on what shows on the label and look for a genuine Non-GMO logo associated with the brand.
The educated honey consumer should search for what truly makes up a quality honey insuring they get a pure, fresh, raw, non-GMO honey, without chemical residues or manipulation.
Originally from France and now a Canadian citizen, Sebastien Martin has over 17 years of business practice internationally and has become the go to person in terms of honey regulations and specifically, Manuka honey for the North American market. Working with Ecocert Canada and Bio Canada, Sebastien has been the leading force behind the change of some regulations regarding the import and presence of organic honey into Canada in the last few years. Thanks to him, many organic honeys have been imported into the Canadian and recently the UK market instead of being blocked because of some discrepancies in the newly drafted COR standards.
Through his staple brands and businesses, Sebastien has been the first North American entrepreneur to push and get the North American approval for the Non-GMO Project verified logo for the Wedderspoon New Zealand honey line. He has not stopped working towards innovative products, such as Honey on the Go, individual single serve sachets of raw manuka honey and the Award-winning Queen of the Hive Face Contour Cream & Mask, using bee venom and organic manuka honey.