‘Hands off Mānuka Honey,’ says industry: appeals UK ruling

by | Feb 4, 2022 | News

Manuka Charitable Trust and honey industry remain steadfast in protecting the term MANUKA HONEY with appeal of UK Intellectual Property Office ruling

The Mānuka Charitable Trust and the Mānuka Honey Industry remain steadfast in protecting the term ‘Mānuka Honey’ for all New Zealanders and supports the decision of Manuka Honey Appellation Society and Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) to pursue an appeal on a point of law regarding the UK Intellectual Property Office ruling on the “MANUKA HONEY” Certification Trademark application.

“Our shared goal remains to protect the term MANUKA HONEY internationally so that it may only be lawfully used on products containing Mānuka honey from Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Pita Tipene, Chair of the Mānuka Charitable Trust (MCT). MCT is strongly supported by Mānuka Honey Appellation Society (MHAS), UMFHA, Apiculture New Zealand, and New Zealand Beekeeping Inc.

The group remains strongly of the view that it is not appropriate for honey producers in another country to use the name MANUKA HONEY when the plant the nectar came from did not grow in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This is also an indigenous rights issue and is out of step with existing indigenous IP frameworks and consumers’ demand for authenticity and quality. The word MANUKA is from our reo Māori (language) and a precious taonga (treasure) that we have a responsibility to honour and protect,”

In respect of the United Kingdom market, “We strongly support the UK consumer to understand that MANUKA HONEY is a product of Aotearoa New Zealand. These customers know in purchasing MANUKA HONEY over the last 20 years, that mānuka is a Māori word originating from Aotearoa New Zealand and that’s what makes it so unique.”

In considering the appeal, MHAS advises that a full review of the UK ruling was taken into account by them and that UK consumers should rightly be able to expect to receive the same MANUKA HONEY product they have purchased for over 20 years originating from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Aotearoa New Zealand is the only country in the world that has a government-regulated export definition for honey derived from the indigenous Mānuka plant that grows across the countryside and forests of Aotearoa New Zealand. This definition also requires that all honey exported from New Zealand under the name MANUKA HONEY meets test requirements, ensuring it is unadulterated and true to labeling. This enables consumer confidence in this genuine and unique honey of New Zealand.

About the Author

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The Feed.co.nz, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story. vincentheeringa.com

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