Australia, New Zealand Fight Over Rights to “Manuka Honey”
According to the New York Times, Australia and New Zealand are disputing over the rights to produce manuka honey, a honey product that sells for about $100 per 500 grams. New Zealand producers seek to establish a protected designation of origin for manuka honey, but Australian producers argue that their production process creates the same resulting product. The New Zealand version of the product is created by bees that pollinate the manuka bush, while the bees in Australia create the honey with the nectar of the manuka bush as well as dozens of species in the same genus. One New Zealand producer reportedly said that calling the Australian product manuka honey is like “generalizing all the almonds and apricots and calling them plums”; the Australians argue that the related bushes are “nearly indistinguishable” because the species developed when Australia and New Zealand were part of the same land mass 65 million years ago.
“I think it is absolutely ludicrous that two countries so blessed with such a wonderful product should be going to court and bastardizing the name manuka,” one New Zealander told the Times. “Rather, we should put those funds together, collaborate and put all that money into science and research to supply the world with more honey.”