Meluka Australia releases Original Raw Honey Probiotic

Meluka Australia’s has released its Original Raw Honey Probiotic Concentrate in Australia.

The biofermented concentrate is aimed at everyday Australians in helping improve digestion, boost immunity and support weight management.

Made possible thanks to Meluka Australia’s innovative bio-fermentation process, Meluka Pro-Culture Honey, the probiotic raw honey concentrate can be used in helping with everything from irritable bowel syndrome, to maintaining a healthy and balanced gut microbiome or assisting with Crohn’s disease. With a recommended daily dosage of 15ml, it can be used as a daily dietary supplement and it may also be mixed in with juice, smoothies or added to salad dressings.

Manuka Doctor donates 200,000 pots of honey to communities in need

New Zealand’s largest privately owned honey manufacturer, Manuka Doctor, has today announced it will donate 50 tonnes of specially produced New Zealand Wild Flora Honey from its Hamilton warehouse to families in need, via national food rescue service KiwiHarvest.

The 100 pallets of honey will be distributed by KiwiHarvest to local community groups and charities around the country, helping to meet the ongoing demand for food assistance as the financial impact of COVID-19 continues to put pressure on Kiwi families.

“We’d seen the increasing number of news stories about Kiwis in desperate need of assistance and really just wanted to do something to make a positive difference. COVID-19 has created an opportunity for businesses like ours to stand up and show their local support – and we’d encourage any and all other businesses that are able to, to do the same,” said Manuka Doctor director, Nicola Macfarlane.

“The donated honey has been manufactured under a newly created label, #beeingkind – a name which reflects not only our ethos at Manuka Doctor, but the Government’s COVID-19 motto. It’s about New Zealanders helping New Zealanders,” she said.

KiwiHarvest CEO, Gavin Findlay says they’re grateful to Manuka Doctor for their generous donation which will help to meet the rapidly increasing demand for food parcels – and provide a nutritious, sweet treat to families in need.

“Although we have moved out of lockdown, food insecurity is still a significant problem across the country. Food banks and community groups continue to receive requests for assistance as many Kiwis are still struggling to provide the basics for their families.

“Unfortunately, the financial implications of COVID-19 are felt most by our vulnerable communities, and those impacts will be felt for a long time. We’re incredibly thankful for the support from organisations like Manuka Doctor who are helping to meet the ongoing food necessities of those who need it most,” adds Findlay.

This growing demand was reflected in a dramatic increase in food quantities distributed via the KiwiHarvest warehouse over the lockdown period – up from 98,000kgs in February, to 171,000kgs in April, an increase of 74.5%. From March to May of this year, KiwiHarvest distributed a total of 434,000kgs of food – an increase of over 60% from the same time last year.

Manuka Doctor organised dedicated shifts at its Hamilton-based warehouse during lock down to keep employees working and to pack the 50 tonnes of honey.

KiwiHarvest has started distributing the honey to its recipient agencies around the country, beginning with its local Auckland beneficiaries before circulating it to other regions.

One of those recipient agencies is RāWiri Community House in South Auckland – and co-founder, Liz Kiriona says they are grateful for the donation which they have added to their family sized food parcels.

“Since the end of March, we’ve handed out over 1,000 food parcels. Honey is liquid gold as we never receive anything like this – especially coming into winter with its well-known wellbeing properties,” said Kiriona.

Hive aid campaign hits $250,000

Generous donations and everyday shoppers have helped to raise over a quarter of a million dollars to assist Australian beekeepers and their crucial honey bees.

Growing awareness of the plight of the beekeepers, who play a critical role in Australia’s agriculture industry, has prompted a groundswell of support for Hive Aid and the nation’s “forgotten farmers”, with donations passing $250,000.

This has all occurred at a time when many Australians are doing it tough as the COVID-19 pandemic affects health, incomes and way of life across the country.

Hive + Wellness Australia CEO Ryan d’Almeida said, “This is a fantastic milestone, and quite humbling in the current environment. These funds will make a huge difference to beekeepers, supporting them to sustain their bees amidst some of the most challenging conditions on record.”

He said that more than 120 beekeepers had registered since the campaign began, and the number continued to grow each month. Over the last six months, bushfires have destroyed over 11 million hectares of forest, while drought and extreme heat have decimated bee populations. This has resulted in a domestic honey shortage and restricted the ability of bees to pollinate important farming crops.

“Since the campaign was launched, Rural Aid has done an amazing job of directing the funds to professional beekeepers in urgent need. Hive Aid has seen particularly high requests for assistance from beekeepers in Queensland and New South Wales, where conditions have been harshest. But beekeepers from much further afield have also registered for help,” said d’Almeida.

“The public’s support for this campaign is providing both immediate assistance and also ensuring the longer-term survival of the nation’s beekeeping industry.”

Hive + Wellness donate to bushfire relief

Drought and Bushfire Relief Honey Launched to Support Australia’s Beekeepers and their Honey Bees Hive + Wellness has today launched a specially marked “Drought and Bushfire Relief” Capilano Honey Pack, with 20 cents from every sale to go directly to supporting struggling beekeepers via Rural Aid charity’s ‘Hive Aid’ campaign.

The new 340 gram packs are on sale in supermarkets and stores immediately, although the full roll-out will take several weeks.

Hive + Wellness, which sources honey from more than half of Australia’s 1500 professional beekeepers for its iconic Capilano product, said it hoped the New Year launch would begin a better year for honey bees and their keepers.

Chief operating officer Ben McKee said: “It is no secret that 2019 was an extremely difficult year for beekeepers across the country, particularly those affected by the worst of the drought and bushfires in NSW and Queensland.”

“The situation is not one we can turn around easily, with drought conditions still prevailing across much of the typical beekeeping countryside, and some areas unlikely to recover for years. Bushfires, which are causing such devastation around the country, have a cruel impact on wildlife and that includes our vital honey bee population.”

“I know that many Australians are concerned about what our farmers and beekeepers are experiencing. Our Drought and Bushfire Relief honey is a very practical way they can help, while also enjoying the taste of pure Australian honey.”

Dr McKee added that 20 cents from every 340 gram classic honey pack would go to the cause, even if the packaging did not display the new Drought and Bushfire Relief label. “It will take some time to get these special packs across our retailers, but the nation’s beekeepers need help now. We have therefore made the commitment in relation to every 340 gram Capilano classic pack sale from January 1.”

The Drought and Bushfire Relief honey is part of a suite of initiatives Hive + Wellness is implementing in support of beekeepers, who have seen their bees suffer, honey production plummet, and incomes slide for many months. In December Hive + Wellness joined charity Rural Aid and industry body AHBIC to establish Hive Aid, a hardship fund accessible to beekeepers.

Show me the honey – Nature Nate’s arrives in Australia

Turning your hobby into a full time job would be a dream for many people. And turning that dream into a multi-million dollar business would be like winning the lottery. You could argue that is what happened to Nathan Sheets, the CEO of Nature Nate’s Honey Co., a US-based company that produces raw and unfiltered honey. Now, Sheets is making a foray into the Australian market.

“When I got married in 1996, my wife Patty said we needed a hobby,” said Sheets. “She was thinking gardening or antiques, but I was thinking bees. We started keeping one hive in my parents’ backyard because we lived in an apartment. I would also go and help the guy who I got the hive from with his 100 beehives on the weekends. He had started a honey company in 1972 – the North Dallas Honey Company – which would eventually become Nature Nate’s. I then started getting up at 4am to help distribute his honey because he had cancer and needed help delivering to the 20 stores that stocked his product.

“Then I started going down to his house and helped bottle the honey. In 1997, I took over the business.”

However, Sheets wasn’t ready to go full time just yet. He decided to take up an offer to become a missionary and spent the next 12 years visiting 88 countries doing this work. He sees this time as formative in terms of how he wanted to run the company he now owns. In 2010, he went full time so that now, nine years later, he has more than 85 full-time staff at the company’s headquarters based just north of Dallas, Texas. Like any business, in order to grow, the company needed to expand. Australia was always going to be on Sheets’ radar.

“I chose Australia because we had some relationships with people down here,” he said. “That opened up the door for us. Personally, I’ve always loved Australia. I’ve always been fascinated with Australia and I love to fish, and you guys have great fishing.”

Australian standards
Nature Nate’s has teamed up with Woolworths to launch the product in Australia. How did he find the local market compared to the US?

“Australian standards and regulations are pretty similar to what we have in the US,” he said. “I have found that the actual honey in Australia to be cleaner than what we have in the US, which is awesome.”

As with any foray into a new market, there are teething issues however, the overall experience has been good. Sheets noticed there is an issue with traceability. In order to deal with any suspicions or any negative impact that might occur with regard to his products, he has been proactive in letting consumers know the provenance of Nature Nate’s honey.

“There was an issue about 12 years ago in the US. I’m talking about food fraud and honey adulteration. People bringing in honey saying it is from one country but might be from another and things like that. Food fraaud is so prevalent everywhere. It is in olive oil and seafood. It has been pretty significant in the honey industry,” he said.

“When I started doing the honey company full time, we created a robust and uncommon food testing programme where we test 100 per cent of the honey,” he said. “We test for pollen, antibiotics, pesticides – and we do that with gold standard testing via a German lab called Intertek. We created that testing protocol, which we have brought to Australia. I think the beekeepers that we partner with in Australia have clean operations and our testing has not found the same pesticide issues that we have found in some American honeys. Again, it’s not that the beekeepers are doing anything on purpose, you just don’t know if the bees are flying three to five miles away from the hive – beekeepers don’t know what the bees are going to encounter.”

Sheets isn’t satisfied with manufacturing honey on its own, he also wants to work on other products that, naturally, will have honey in them. He said the company is developing an array of products that usually rely on processed sugars and Nature Nate’s is trying to engineer honey into them. For example, it has developed energy shots that it’s bringing to market in the US. It is also looking at barbecue sauces, ketchups, condiments, syrups, nut butters and range of other products.

“We are just trying to figure out now what is a viable product,” he said. “The hardest thing is that the properties of honey themselves are different than other sweeteners. Corn syrup is dirt cheap and available. Honey is expensive, but it is hydroscopic, so it absorbs moisture – you have to think through that and how honey is going to interact with other parts of food products.”

Getting the team onboard
And how do you brand a product when you enter a new market? There are plenty of established, well-known, popular honey brands on the market in Australia. Sheets’ background before beekeeping was marketing, and that, tied with his time as a missionary, gave him some insights into how peoples’ minds tick and he believes his strategy will be a winner.
“The way I approach the business is this; people spend most of their waking hours at work,” he said. “My dad gave me this principle growing up – if you ever borrow something from someone, give it back to them in a better condition than you got it. If I borrowed your car, I’d bring it back to you washed and full of gas. I view people like that. I am a steward of their time and abilities so at the end of their time with Nature Nate’s, whether that’s a month or 15 years, I want them to be better people – emotionally, spiritually, financially, intellectually and vocationally. We invest a lot into our people and try to make their work experience to be something they are passionate about. We have a bunch of people that are passionate about what they do.”

Along with his staff, it’s not just the amount of time and money he puts into the manufacturing process, but making sure the product is as perfect as can be that is its best-selling point, plus he is a big believer in philanthropy.

“We didn’t see it as a marketing strategy, we see it as an extension of what we are passionate about,” he said. “That’s one of the branding strengths of Nature Nate’s. There is a commitment to the quality and the tasting perspective and also a food safety perspective. I tell our staff all the time that we shouldn’t put honey on someone’s table if we are not willing to put it on our own table. And it’s not just about money. I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year testing honey to make sure it is a high-quality product.”

And the philanthropy? Sheets launched the product in September, and already the company is laying out plans with Woolworths and its Foodbank initiatives, as well as helping out farmers.

“When it comes to the Foodbank, we wanted to find a way we could invest immediately that involved the community,” said Sheets. “This is to do with Woolworths, which is a cause near and dear to their heart. Next, we’re going to ask communities, ‘hey, where can we best help?’

“We’ve already talked to some people who help with the plight of farmers, especially in relation to the drought. We’ll see where that is. I’m already on board with investing into kids and their development, which is important. We have a program we developed for kids. It’s called ‘The Adventures of Nature Nate’ and it is a cartoon about me when I was a little kid. It educates kids on the impact of beekeeping and the environment.”

His overall philosophy is why he believes Nature Nate’s is not only successful now, but will continue to be so into the future, especially as it expands into other regions.

“If you maintain people, service them and try and make them successful, ultimately we are going to be successful at what we do,” he said. “I live out the brand of Nature Nate’s. It’s not a marketing strategy, it’s an extension of who we are.”

Drought impacting on beekeepers

Hive + Wellness has warned that Australia faces a potential honey shortage, as the nation’s beekeepers grapple with some of the most difficult conditions in the industry’s history.

Honey production in the current season is forecast to be the lowest on record, with further declines predicted for 2020/21 if we see no improvement in Australian weather conditions.
A survey conducted by the company amongst its suppliers found that 98% of respondents had been adversely impacted by the ongoing drought, with some beekeepers seeing their production drop to zero. Bushfire and heat had exacerbated already difficult conditions, devastating bee populations as well as their source of food.

READ MORE: A2 Milk expands range to make milk powder with Manuka honey

Ben McKee from Hive + Wellness said: “Australian beekeepers are the forgotten farmers in this drought. Just as livestock farmers have faced challenges in feeding their animals, a lack of flowering trees means beekeepers have struggled to ensure sufficient food for their bees.”

“They are experiencing significant declines in both the population of their hives and in production levels as there is simply not enough nectar for bees to collect. The bees are also affected by water scarcity and the relentless heat.”

The outlook for the 2019/2020 honey season is grim, with expectations of the lowest national crop on record, which has been aggravated by poor honey production in previous seasons.

Bert Seagrave, an Emmaville based beekeeper from the New England region of NSW, and supplier to Hive + Wellness, said: “We are facing the worst honey production in my lifetime, and we are working tirelessly just to keep our bees alive”.

Hive + Wellness is the largest honey packer, marketer and supporter of beekeepers in Australia. Its beekeepers account for a significant proportion of the nation’s honey production.

Australian Made supports bee industry

The Australian Made Campaign is reminding consumers to support local beekeepers and manufacturers by buying authentically Australian bee products this World Bee Day.

“When you buy Australian Made bee products you are supporting thousands of Australians at all stages of the supply chain, from the local beekeepers to the bee product manufacturers and retailers.

It’s been a tough year for Aussie farmers and manufacturers, particularly those in regional areas affected by fire, drought and floods, so it is important to show our support. Buying Australian-made is one of the best ways to ensure the bee industry thrives in Australia. There are more bee products than just honey, Australian produces a range of beeswax candles, food wraps, skincare and health supplements,” said Australian Made Campaign chief executive, Ben Lazzaro.

In 2017, the United Nations declared 20 May as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, there are approximately 13,000 registered beekeepers in Australian, producing between 20-25,000 tonnes of honey each year and contributing an estimated $100 million per annum to the local economy.

“It is important to educate people and raise awareness for bees and the significant role they play in the health of our ecosystem. It has been fantastic to see awareness of the plight of bees increase in the last few years, however more can be done to support bees and the beekeeping industry,” said owner and founder of Apiary Made, Celeste Faltyn.

“As individuals, there are a number of things that we can do to assist the survival of our bee populations…One thing that we all can do is to show support for local Australian beekeepers, buying local has tremendous positive impact on the Australian industry. Beekeeping can be a hard game sometimes, just like all forms of farming, by supporting local manufacturers you are helping the beekeepers and producers in our community to continue defend our local bee populations.

There are also lots of little things that you can do to support the bees in your own backyard. Research the chemicals and pesticides you are using in your garden, leave little bowls of water out for them on really hot days, plant different flower species that blossom year-round and letting your herbs and veggies go to flower so the bees can feed on the nectar and pollen, these are all small things that you can do right now to aid their survival,” Celeste said.

Australian Manuka adopts Mark of Authenticity to meet international standards

 

  • MGO is internationally recognised as a key measure of Manuka antibacterial activity
  • UMF ratings no longer meet labelling requirements
  • New Mark of Authenticity proves consumer confidence for Australian Manuka

The Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA), in partnership with leading scientists, has established a set of standards for authentic Australian Manuka honey.

Honey that carries the AMHA’s Mark of Authenticity must be pure, natural Manuka honey, produced entirely in Australia, and be tested by an independent, approved laboratory to ensure it meets minimum standards of naturally occurring methylglyoxal (MGO), dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and leptosperin.

“These compounds are all naturally occurring in authentic Manuka. The level of MGO determines the potency of the honey, while the amount of DHA shows that this potency came naturally from the bees collecting Manuka nectar, and the leptosperin is further proof of authentic Manuka”, explained honey chemistry expert, Dr Peter Brooks.

MGO is the centrepiece of the AMHA’s Australian Manuka honey rating system. This is in line with changing international standards and labelling requirements. Large international retailers, such as Holland and Barrett (one of the UK’s largest health food retailers with a growing presence in Europe and Asia), are moving away from the UMF system, to MGO ratings and are soon to phase out UMF labelling.

“We are delighted and not surprised with this decision as MGO has increasingly become the preferred rating system across the world. It makes sense that large retailers are moving to the MGO system and, in doing so, they are making direct comparison between different products much easier for their customers,” said AMHA chairman Paul Callander.

 

AMHA adopts guidelines to endorse a mark of authenticity for Australian Manuka Honey

The Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has brought to fruition one of its major aims – the formulation of a robust, scientifically based international set of guidelines that benchmark authentic Australian Manuka.

The guidelines are entitled Criteria for Defining Australian Manuka Honey and can be downloaded from the Association’s website.

AMHA Chairman, Paul Callander, said, “This important milestone was made possible by eminent scientists Dr Peter Brooks, Dr Shona Blair, Dr Nural Cokcetin and Dr Craig Davis joining our recently established Scientific Advisory Committee. These scientists are experts in the Manuka honey field and have outstanding global reputations. No-one could doubt the credibility of these guidelines, which will now be circulated internationally.”

The AMHA will also soon be launching its Mark of Authenticity.

“Once certified as authentic Australian Manuka honey, in compliance with the Criteria for Defining Australian Manuka Honey, producers (who are members of the AMHA) will have the opportunity to display the AMHA’s Mark of Authenticity on their tested and approved products. The Mark of Authenticity will allow businesses and consumers in Australia and around the world to have confidence that the product is authentic Australian Manuka honey. The AMHA’s Mark of Authenticity displayed on products will provide assurance and confidence as to the quality and genuine aspects of the product,” commented AMHA Director, Joe Baini.

 

Australian Manuka Honey Association receives $165,000 grant

The Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has received a $165,000 grant from the Government to support international market growth for the highly valued, medicinal honey.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said the grant, funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, would help Australian producers and exporters raise awareness of the unique quality of Australia’s Manuka honey.

This important support will help the association also reinforce Australian Manuka honeys’ rightful place in the rapidly growing global market, particularly amidst recent attempts from New Zealand producers to monopolise the term ‘Manuka’ internationally.

Comprised of Australia’s leading Manuka honey exporters and peak Australian honey industry bodies, including ManukaLife, Berringa, Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and ASX listed Capilano Honey, the association aims to foster the industry’s growth and uphold global quality standards for Manuka honey produced in Australia.

“We are very appreciative of the support from the federal government in helping us market our Australian Manuka products globally,” said Paul Callander, Chairman of the Australian Manuka Honey Association.

“This growing industry has opened up additional opportunity for Australian Manuka honey to further develop medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutraceutical markets as well as Manuka honey in a jar. This expansion will lead to new jobs in the development of value add products manufactured in Australia, which are in increasingly high demand from global consumers.”

The Association plans to allocate the funding towards promotion, growth, quality and global education of the Australian Manuka honey industry.

Supply agreement for Australian organic honey

Meluka Health has entered two supply agreements with Bee Services, one of Australia’s largest producers of organic certified honey.

The first agreement is an exclusive supply agreement for honey produced from hives located on two organic melaleuca tea tree plantations, Jendale and Robyndale, located in the Bungawalbyn valley basin of NSW.

Jendale is an old growth plantation that is wild crafted in its natural state and has been identified as an origin of the species plantation for the melaleuca alternifolia. Robyndale is a farmed organic melaleuca tea tree plantation.

The second agreement is for supply of honey that is produced in the region of the Bungawalbyn valley basin.

“It is great to be able to produce such a unique and quality honey reflecting the power of these amazing Australian botanical species. For over 100 years bees have been harvesting honey in this area producing a superb product,” said Wayne Fuller, Director and principal of Bee Services.

 

Wiley’s honey project to employ 400,000 ‘workers’

Wiley’s Brisbane office today welcomes 400,000 new ‘workers’ and residents on their rooftop in their latest project. The workers, eight colonies of honey bees, are set to produce over 360kg of honey each year. Wiley, who design and build facilities, are collaborating with Bee One Third to produce a fantastic environment for the bees to create their honey.

“This project is Wiley’s contribution to a thriving bee population which supports our food industry, and the bonus is plenty of fresh honey to share. One of the great things we can learn from bees is that we all win if we cooperate. The bees will enjoy our insect friendly herb garden and collect nectar and pollen from the local Woolloongabba blooms,” said Wiley managing director, Tom Wiley.

Globally, bees contribute directly to one in every three plates of food that we eat, meaning, one third of our global food system is wholly reliant on bee pollination.

On a larger scale, bees contribute to over 97 per cent of the global food production – from seed manufacture, all the way through to the growing of vegetables, nuts and fruits.

Bees and other insect pollinators play a vital role in dictating whether farmers receive a yielded crop at the end of the season, are relied upon by consumers, supermarkets, farmers of all foods (including oils, meat, seeds, fruits and vegetables) and pollinate food crops worth between AU$4-6 billion per year to the Australian economy.

“It’s amazing to collaborate with forward focussed companies like Wiley who understand the intricacies of the production cycle and what it takes to truly contribute back to their environment. We really look forward to comparing our Woolloongabba honey to our other harvests around Brisbane,” Jack Stone from Bee One Third.

Stones main focus is to work with local beekeepers, and the surrounding community, to increase the local bee population and create greater social awareness about the importance of insect pollinators for our food future.

“Our primary focus of what we want to achieve is to increase pollination rates with healthy, strong bee hives and create effective and efficient systems of changes for the neighbourhood. It’s a true contribution to the area as the bees fly within 5km of their hive – they will be visiting East Brisbane, Stones Corner, Buranda and surrounding suburbs too,” said Stone.

The honey the bees collect from around at Wiley will be shared with clients, family and friends. Anything left over will be donated to one of the many charities Wiley collaborates with locally.

There are a lot of sweet lessons to learn from keeping bees. These lessons are especially relatable in the food industry. Bees work together for a collective purpose and achieve the extraordinary. We need to help bees on their mission to ensure our food production well into the future.

Image: Rachael Hedges, Wiley Marketing Manager with Jack Stone from Bee One Third.

New honey bee research centre to create a buzz

A new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) led by The University of Western Australia will provide a much-needed boost to Australia’s valuable, but largely untapped honey bee products, by bringing together both industry and academic expertise from across Australia.

Dr Liz Barbour, from UWA’s Office of Research Enterprise, said the CRC for Honey Bee Products would resolve current industry problems that limited the value and expansion of the Australian honey bee products industry. Products include honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, venom and honey bee export.

“At present, honey bee product value is estimated at $125 million,” Dr Barbour said.

“What is often overlooked is that 44 of our food crops wholly or in part rely on honey bee pollination which adds an additional farm gate value of $6.5 billion. With the new Australian focus of fine food export, healthy bees are an essential ingredient for success.”

“The low price of most honey bee products from Australia doesn’t reflect their unique and pure qualities,”

“Australia, especially Western Australia, has one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world so no antibiotics or chemicals from bee husbandry contaminate the products. Whilst Australia is surrounded by bee diseases, through our quarantine efforts, the worst (including the sucking mite, Varroa) have not yet reached our shores.”

Bee disease is a big threat to Australia’s agricultural production.

“If a major bee disease arrived in Australia, there would be a 26 per cent decline in national agricultural production, which equates to a consumer surplus loss of between $12.4 billion and $27.2 billion,” Dr Barbour said.

Australia currently has 500,000 bee hives but needs 750,000 to qualify for pollination service security. Dr Barbour said the CRC for Honey Bee Products would provide pollination security by increasing the value of the industry to attract and train new professional beekeepers and increase the number of hives.

The marketing success of New Zealand’s Manuka honey from a Leptospermum species is an approach that will be pursued within this CRC. Whilst New Zealand has one Leptospermum species, in Australia we have an additional 80 others. Already Dr Peter Brook’s research team from the University of the Sunshine Coast, as part of a larger Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation project, has identified unique Australian Manuka honeys that will be further developed within this CRC. This, together with other Australian endemic flora, opens many opportunities to add value to the honey bee products, and create new hive sites.

“Honey bee product value and production is directly related to the quality and extent of hive sites,” Dr Barbour said.

“Through gathering critical data, using GIS (a computer system used to capture and display data) and economic expertise, the CRC will value hive sites for both product quality and impact on bee health.” This information will develop a ‘bee credit’ which in unison with the ‘carbon credit’ will give new found value to native bush sites and support their conservation.

“New product management systems from site to product, will equip a new era of high value beekeeping,” Dr Barbour said.

The CRC will align with Australia’s ‘clean and green’ marketing focus and will be supported by the development of a chain of custody from bush to product that becomes core to the training and education of stakeholders to protect the brand. Documentation of procedures together with nationally approved chemical and anti-microbial property analyses at critical stages will provide assurance of purity and product health activity.

Dr Barbour said honey bee disease-resistance is a complex issue.

“Claims have been made that Australia’s honey bee population has little resistance to foreign diseases. If true, any disease invasion would be catastrophic,” she said.

“The CRC will develop a research network with the US, China and Europe so that international research identifying bee disease genetic markers can be integrated into the Australian honey bee population. This together with providing bee health resilience will provide a bee disease insurance policy to address this major global threat to the industry.”

Manuka honey may help prevent life-threatening urinary infections

Manuka honey could prevent serious urinary tract infections caused by catheters – tubes used to drain patients’ bladders, new laboratory research has found.

The research showed honey from New Zealand’s manuka plant slows the speed of bacterial growth and formation of biofilms, which are thin layers that build up on surfaces and harbour infection.

The investigators used the findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, to suggest flushing diluted manuka honey through the catheter may help prevent urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections can be life-threatening. They account for 40% of hospital-acquired infections, while catheter-associated urinary tract infections make up 80% of this group.

But the researchers stressed this study was performed in a laboratory. Significantly more testing was needed before the honey could be used to treat infections in humans.

The director of the infectious diseases and microbiology department at Austin Health, Lindsay Grayson, said the research was a “quirky” take on the role honey could play.

Manuka honey’s antimicrobial effects are well understood, but Professor Grayson, who was not involved in the study, said it was interesting because not much was known about its effect on biofilm.

“Biofilms are critical because these bugs form this slimy layer and then they’re able to live quite comfortably in a dormant or semi-dormant state,” he said.

Professor Grayson said the biofilm protected bacteria and delivering antibiotics through it to treat infection was difficult.

“It might then allow antibiotics that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get in there to now get into the bugs.”

Australian National University professor of infectious diseases Peter Collignon, who was also not involved in the study, said research that looked at ways of controlling infections other than using antibiotics was a good idea. But he said this study was limited in its practical application.

The latest research only assessed formation of biofilm and bacterial growth, not whether using honey allowed antibiotics to penetrate the biofilm more effectively.

Researchers added various concentrations of manuka honey diluted in distilled water to laboratory growth plates containing two bacteria known to cause urinary infections and incubated them for 24, 48 and 72 hours.

They then compared the growth of biofilms in each of the plates to control plates that had bacteria but no manuka honey.

“The further research that needs to be done is to see whether this actually works for what is proposed,” Professor Collignon said.

“In other words, can this objectively decrease the amount of infections that are occurring in the urinary tract?”

Properly controlled clinical trials are needed to avoid the risk that laboratory data could be misinterpreted in the real world and that patients could be given false hope, said Professor Collignon.

“I think the major risk is maybe people being taken advantage of financially because it [manuka honey] is relatively expensive compared to other substances,” he said.

Professor Grayson said he was concerned about the lack of safety data for using diluted honey, either on catheters or in flushing the bladder, because it could be an irritant.

“If honey contacting the bladder wall did cause cellular irritation and inflammation, then that in and of itself sets up a higher risk of infection,” he said.

The Conversation

Simon Hendel, Editor, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Capilano launches world-first clinically tested prebiotic honey

Capilano, has announced the launch of the world’s first clinically tested* prebiotic honey, Beeotic.

Listed with the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a therapeutic good, Beeotic is the result of extensive research and a world-first clinical study conducted through the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to identify the widely recognised, but until now unproven, prebiotic health potential of select Australian honeys.

On shelves of leading supermarkets, pharmacies, and select health stores from Monday 19 September, Capilano Managing Director, Dr Ben McKee, said the launch of Beeotic allowed Capilano to cement its role in the lives of health conscious consumers around the world.

“This world-first health and wellness innovation has been a long time in the making, and marks an exciting time for both Capilano and our beekeepers,” Dr McKee said.

“We know that our consumers care about their health and wellbeing, and we are immensely proud to be able to deliver an industry-first product that gives people the option to improve their overall digestive health whilst enjoying their favourite great-tasting honey.

“Made from 100 per cent pure Australian honey, Beeotic offers a natural and convenient way to boost digestive health for adults and children alike.”

The scientific community has long believed honey to be a good source of prebiotics, but as Microbiology and Immunology specialist at UNSW Professor Patricia Conway explained, until now, there has never been any human clinical studies to support this.

“Honey has been used to help normalise digestive balance for many years. The focus of the clinical study was to scientifically validate the specifications of a prebiotic honey to deliver consumers certainty around its potential health and wellness benefits,” Professor Conway said.

“Consuming prebiotic rich foods can help the good bacteria in your gut grow, improving the good- to-bad bacteria ratio and therefore helping improve your digestive health.

“The results of the clinical study found that at a dose of 14mL, approximately one tablespoon per day, certain honeys significantly raised the levels of good bacteria and suppressed potentially harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. Furthermore, levels of good bacteria decreased once the participants stopped taking the honey for a period of time.

“The discovery of eight key oligosaccharides believed to be contributing to the prebiotic activity of honey was identified, which allows Capilano to test and detect, with certainty, the honeys which contain the beneficial prebiotic oligosaccharides.”

Dr Ben McKee said Capilano had made a considerable investment into developing industry-first testing methods to identify honeys that deliver this prebiotic content.

“Each batch of Beeotic honey is independently tested using our pioneering technology which we are in the process of patenting,” Dr McKee said.

“The tests look for particular sugar profiles in order to identify which honeys contain the required prebiotic components. Nothing is added, nothing is taken away, Beeotic is just 100 per cent pure Australian honey.

“Best of all this premium quality prebiotic honey is made right here in Australia, hand collected by our network of Australian beekeepers.”

 

*Based on published clinical study results as at 19/08/16 Always read the label. Use only as directed.

Manuka Health named one of most trusted honey brands

Manuka Health has been recognised as one of Australia’s most trusted honey brands in the annual Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands Survey.

The annual independent survey directs consumers to the brands they can trust most. Manuka Health came second in the honey category, pipping a large number of other Australian and New Zealand honey brands to the post.

“We are humbled and proud of the fact that consumers have so much faith in the Manuka Health brand,” said Manuka Health GM Marketing, Nina Paul. “Every day, we strive to provide the best quality manuka honey and natural healthcare products available. Every batch of honey is tested when it arrives and leaves our facilities, to ensure it is of the highest standard, and that it is 100% genuine manuka honey.”

“Consumers recognise and respect our commitment to quality, and in return they show us strong brand loyalty, which we are extremely grateful for. This award is recognition of how well Manuka Health is distinguishing itself in an increasingly crowded market.”

The Brand logo will be rolled out across Manuka Health’s marketing in Australia this year.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 in response to the growing demand for premium manuka honey and its wide application of health benefits including dietary supplements, gourmet foods, personal care and wound care products. The company prides itself on being one of the world’s most trustworthy source of genuine manuka honey.

Capilano named most trusted honey

Capilano has bolstered its credentials by taking out the “Most Trusted Honey” gong at the 2016 Australian Reader’s Digest Awards last week.

More than 2,000 consumers voted Capilano their honey of choice ahead of competitors including Beechworth, Pureharvest, Manuka Health and Dick Smith’s.

The research, which was independently conducted by Catalyst Research for Reader’s Digest, asked Australians to rate more than 400 Australian brands across 65 categories on a scale of one to 10 based on consistency, reliability and value for money.

Managing Director of Capilano Honey, Ben McKee, said the win was testament to their devoted network of beekeepers across Australia and consistently high-quality, pure Australian honey.

“We are delighted to take out this award for our 100 per cent pure Australian honey, having grown from a small family business in 1953 to the recognised brand we are today,” he said.

“We could not have established ourselves as Australia’s most trusted brand without our dedicated network of more than 500 beekeepers who ensure we consistently deliver on taste and quality.

“We are equally grateful for our loyal customers who have grown up with Capilano and have allowed us to become a special part of their daily routine.”

Australian Reader’s Digest Managing Editor, Louise Waterson, said that trust had become an increasingly precious commodity in Australian lives.

“Trust is essential and hard earned, sometimes across generations, and can translate to all-important profits and jobs,” Waterson said.

“The rise of social media, and its ability to take word-of-mouth endorsements to a whole new audience, has also introduced an interesting new dynamic to the importance of keeping customers happy and satisfied.”

McKee said that this was the first year honey had been introduced as a category in the Australian Reader’s Digest Awards, with hopes to maintain the title for years to come.

Beechworth Honey leading the fight against food fraud

Beechworth Honey, one of Australia’s iconic brands and a BSI client for over eight years, is helping to raise the profile of honey adulteration across the globe.

Their founder and director, Jodie Goldsworthy, has been appointed as president of the Oceania Region of Apimondia, the Global Federation of Beekeepers' Associations, who have created a working group tasked with communicating the problem and then taking steps to prevent adulteration.

Although cases like the 2013 European horse meat scandal normally make the most high profile headlines, it is food categories like olive oil, milk and honey that actually have the highest reported cases of food fraud.

Previously the primary focus in the food industry has been on food safety, however food defence is becoming an increasing concern with food commodities becoming a target for fraudulent practice as some organizations look to gain financially through means such as substituting key ingredients for cheaper alternatives.

In recent years the world has had a global shortage in honey and honeybee products with pests and diseases afflicting bees in various parts of the world. As a result there has been a proliferation of fake honey which is undercutting the price in the global market. The increase of adulterated honey entering the global market has also sparked concern amongst health officials and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [ACCC] has fined companies for importing products into Australia that claimed to be 100 per cent bee honey, when they were mainly made from modified corn syrup. The fake honey is made in a laboratory and is cheaper to produce than real honey from bees, and beekeepers say they can't compete on price.

“It’s great to see an organization like Beechworth raising the profile of honey adulteration in Australia and across the globe,” said Marc Barnes, Global Director Food at BSI. “By raising the profile they are ensuring there is a future livelihood for beekeepers across the world, as well as reducing health risks from potential undeclared ingredients that are being passed off as honey."

Capilano & Comvita set to form honey JV

Capilano Honey and New Zealand-based health products company Comvita are planning to form a new, jointly-owned honey making business.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a business which would operate a number of Leptospermum honey producing apiaries in Australia and deliver premium honey for a range of medical and natural health products. The incorporated joint venture to be formed will be owned 50:50 by Comvita and Capilano.

Within their respective countries, Comvita and Capilano each market honey and manage apiary operations that produce a wide range of honey, including Leptospermum honey.

Capilano wishes to expand its specialised Leptospermum apiary operation in Australia and secure greater honey supply. Comvita currently operates in Australia in a sales and marketing capacity and this joint venture will secure greater volumes of Leptospermum honey to be processed in Australia, to meet a growing global sales demand.

Capilano and Comvita have already been involved in a joint research initiative to investigate the medicinal properties of Australian Leptospermum honey. In order to best satisfy growing sales, both companies recognise the need to expand their operations and grow the supply base for premium quality honey, especially in Australia.

The formation of the joint venture is subject to the execution of appropriate transaction documentation that is to be expeditiously agreed by both parties. 

Capilano MD takes the sting out of toxic honey reports

A recent article about alleged toxins in Australian honey published by FairFax Media is an “alarmist and sensationalist report of the issue of Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in honey,” according to Dr Ben McKee, Managing Director of honey maker Capilano.

According to Dr McKee,  “Alkaloids are generated naturally by plants and are used as a defence mechanism. They have been detected in a range of foods including honey, teas, herbal products, milk, meat, grains and cereals.”

“Industry and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recognises that honeys produced from Patterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum) will contain these alkaloids and that consumers should not exclusively eat large quantities of this honey (FSANZ 2011),” he said.

“The alkaloids known as echimidine and lycopsamine are the predominant ones found in Patterson's Curse honey and as a result of best practice modern farming techniques, the amount of honey produced from the agricultural weed Patterson's Curse has declined dramatically over the past decade, to next to nothing,” he noted.

“No longer do we see fields of purple flowering weeds in Australia. This change in the environment has resulted in an insignificant production of this type of honey in Australia and it is not considered a commercial honey that will be used in retail honey products.”

“Most notably,” said Dr McKee, “Patterson's Curse honey is not produced in commercial quantities in Australia. Despite this, there remains no scientific evidence illustrating that consuming such honey leads to unfavourable clinical human health concerns.”

“Consumers of quality Australian honey have nothing to fear and they should continue to enjoy our great natural Australian honeys without hesitation,” he concluded.