Member’s update – June 2011

Member’s update – June 2011

Welcome to the third update for 2011.

This update includes a reminder about the AGM and information about the verification programme on the bio assay and chemical assay correlation.

Best wishes

The AMHA Executive

Correlation between chemical and biological assay for the NPA standard

The AMHA License allows licensees to use a chemical marker for determining UMFr levels providing the licensee has sufficient evidence to support the use of the chemical marker (License schedule B clause 2.4)

AMHA has so far allowed the use of methylgloxal as a chemical marker for NPA activity. Work undertaken by AMHA supports the use of the ammended correlation published by Waikato University and presented in the graph below.


Corrigendum to ‘‘Isolation by HPLC and characterization of the bioactive fraction of New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey” [Carbohydr. Res. 343 (2008) 651]. Christopher. J. Adams, Cherie H. Boult, Benjamin J. Deadman, Judie M. Farr, Megan N. C. Grainger, Merilyn Manley-Harris *, Melanie J. Snow

The above peer reviewed and published work has been verified in the following ways:

  1. Samples were independently split and sent to a leading laboratory in the UK which has tested both the bioassay and the chemical marker methylglyoxal, as well as both New Zealand laboratories. The results from the testing have verified the correlation above.
  2. A second set of samples has been independently split and sent to two laboratories in Australia and two in New Zealand. The results again have verified the correlation above.
  3. AMHA has also, over the last year, sent samples to two laboratories in New Zealand. In all cases this bio and chemical testing has verified the correlation above.

Samples in these tests covered a representative range from NPA 5 to NPA 23

Some Basic Definitions

  1. What is a chemical marker?
    Chemically defined constituents, or groups of constituents, of a herbal medicinal product which are of interest for quality control purposes regardless whether they possess any therapeutic activity (European Medicines Agency (EMEA)). Methylglyoxal is a chemical marker that can be used in NPA Honey
  2. Correlation
    the degree to which two or more attributes or measurements on the same group of elements show a tendency to vary together
  3. Correlation and Causality
    Correlation does not equal causality. For example there is a correlation between old age and gray hair but it’s the lack of melanin in the body that causes hair to turn gray. There is a correlation between the number of fires and the number of firemen in any given city, yet in almost all cases it is not the firemen that cause the fires. Recent published work by the University of Adelaide shows that methylgloxal alone does not have the same bioactivity as the same level of methylgloxal present in manuka honey.   This shows that methylgloxal provides some bioactivity but is not the only active component in Manuka honey. The fact there is a strong correlation, however, suggests the other active components maintain similar proportions to methylgloxal across the NPA activity range.

This work provides a solid body of evidence that supports the accuracy in the marketing of Manuka honey products with this unique activity.

AMHA’s recent work on this issue is important because it impacts:

  • our ability to work in an international environment
  • the long-term growth and development of the NZ honey industry
  • the protection and foundation of research towards consumer clarity over core values

NPA Values

Left is the NPA value as a percentage of total tests performed for the 2010/2011 period. This has been taken from aggregated, anonymous data collected from NZLabs and Hills Laboratories.

The average NPA value over a three year period, removing those with a nil or <5 result, is 10.6 and the median is 9.6.   There is a lot of pressure in the marketplace for product labeled as 20+. If you are to maintain a distribution chain to supply at high NPA levels this becomes problematic as there isn’t the volume of product to support this.



Reminder – Annual General Meeting 2011

A reminder that the AMHA AGM is to be held on Monday 27th June 2011 at the Carbine Room, Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre, 58 Waipuna Road, Mount Wellington, Auckland. The meeting will commence at 2.00 pm.

The agenda includes:

  • educational segments (60 mins)
  • approval of the minutes of the previous AGM
  • approval of audited financials
  • presentation of the Chairperson’s report
  • presentation of the business plan
  • election of Executive (three positions available)