Capilano Honey, along other key players from Australia’s honey industry, have been stung into action following a recent move by New Zealand producers to trademark the word ‘Manuka’.
In response to the trademark application in New Zealand, the Australian honey industry has collectively formed the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA), which will formally oppose any attempts to monopolise international naming or market rights.
Deemed as a health food and medicinal honey, Australian Manuka honey is derived from the native species of Leptospermum plants and is a popular product in pharmacy and supermarket shelves thanks to scientifically approved health benefits.
With Capilano’s Managing Director, Ben McKee, joining the board in October, the Association will focus its efforts on four specific areas including product promotion, accuracy in labelling, protection of plant material and fostering growth of the local industry.
AMHA Chairman, Paul Callander, said “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. 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,” Mr Callander explains.
“In response to the trademark application we have brought together a panel of industry experts including leading scientific experts, the Honeybee Cooperative Research Centre (CRC HBP), Australian Government Intellectual Property (IP) Officials, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and Australia’s most dedicated honey packers to lead the charge in protecting 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,” the new Chairman said.
Nearly all of Australia’s leading Manuka honey producers are backing the formation of the new Association, as too is the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC).