Rights: The University of Waikato Published 1 June 2007 Download

Mānuka honey that is used to make woundcare products must be free of contaminants. What steps are taken when the samples are taken from the Mānuka honey drums, and why?


Ralf Schlothauer (Comvita)

The difference between medical-grade and normal grade [honey] is mainly in the testing. We test obviously for microbials, like yeast, moulds and other sorts of bacteria. For the medical-grade, we need to have a microbial count that’s very low. Also, we test for any residues, plant toxins and things like that.

EllaMae Stevenson (Comvita)

When we take a medical sample, this is the first sample we take because this is the ‘micro’ [microbial sample]. It’s completely uncontaminated, so that when the lab gets it, we haven’t interfered with it.

The emphasis is on us to make sure we don’t contaminate it, and it doesn’t contaminate us. Our street clothes are covered, we’re sterile, we spray ourselves with alcohol, and we use a new syringe and a new bung for each single drum in order to keep it that way.

This one here [this honey sample] is for our lab here, and we test for activity, colour, taste, texture, all that sort of thing.

Young Mee Yoon (Comvita)

If any honey doesn’t meet our specifications we reject it and we don’t use this honey in our processing.