A group of four leading Australian scientists have developed a test to prove the authenticity of Australian Manuka honey.

The four scientists are Dr Peter Brooks from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Dr Shona Blair and Dr Nural Cokcetin from the University of Technology, Sydney and Dr Craig Davis from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries.

All four are members of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the new Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA).

Paul Callander, AMHA founding chairman, said the scientists are experts in the Manuka honey field and have outstanding global reputations.

He said they had developed a comprehensive set of scientific testing benchmarks that can used to authenticate Australian Manuka.

Entitled ‘Criteria for Defining Australian Manuka Honey’ the guidelines can be downloaded from the Association’s website.

The guidelines have been developed in support of a soon-to-be-released AMHA Mark of Authenticity that members will be able to include on their Manuka honey labels.

Joe Baini, from Melbourne based Manuka honey packer - Berringa Honey, is a director of the new Association and said that the new mark will give consumers confidence that the product they are buying is genuine Australian Manuka honey.

“The Mark of Authenticity will allow businesses and consumers both in Australia and around the world to have confidence that the product is authentic Australian Manuka honey” he said.

An Australian government grant of $165,000 to the fledgling AMHA was announced last month and is intended to boost the promotion of Australian Manuka honey.

However AMHA won’t be able to use the funds to fight New Zealand moves to get an exclusive trademark on Manuka honey.

According to a recent AMHA members newsletter, the UK Trademark Office handed down a decision to give New Zealand a certification trademark for “Manuka Honey” on 12th  December last year.

The proposed regulations for the NZ trademark in the UK haven’t yet been published. But once they are there will be a period of two-three months to appeal the decision.

AMHA said it will definitely be appealing the decision and, in the meantime, has engaged UK based lawyers to put a caveat on the trademark.

For more information go to www.manukaaustralia.org.au