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Manuka honey - you get what you pay for - usually

Posted by By Melkorka Licea with editing by Bill Gluyas on

Health is nothing but wealth to some snake-oil salesmen.

So if you’re looking to give your body a boost with trendy — and unregulated — wellness products, such as Manuka honey, matcha tea or cannabidiol (a cannabis-derived oil known as CBD), you may want to take a closer look before shelling out.

Goods sold by companies around the globe marked as “100 percent pure” might be just the opposite — packed with fillers and potentially harmful chemicals.

“People need to be skeptical of these products,” says Timothy Caulfield, a professor at the University of Alberta and research director of its Health Law Institute. “You just don’t know what you could be getting.”

To suss out bogus stuff, look for red flags such as an unusually low price and lack of certification. An old-fashioned taste test is also a reliable indicator of quality.

Occasionally, Mother Nature is to blame for inferior products.

On Monday, a class-action lawsuit filed against Trader Joe’s alleging that the store’s 100 percent Manuka honey only contained about 60 percent Manuka was dismissed. 

That’s because the store wasn’t mixing in cheaper honey — as is quite common among other unscrupulous labels --the bees were simply pollinating plant life other than manuka bushes. (Trader Joe’s would not provide a comment.)

Although Trader Joe's Manuka honey stated 10+ on the label, it had no reference to any authority that certified their claim.

“If claims sound too good to be true, they probably are,” FDA spokeswoman Lindsay Haake tells The Post.

Here, we’ve broken down all the tips and tricks to identify the real versus the fake, according to experts.

Prized for its antibiotic properties, celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow swear by Manuka honey’s purported health and beauty benefits, including combating infections, treating skin ailments such as eczema, soothing sore throats, aiding irritable bowel syndrome and evening out skin tone.

The prebiotic-packed honey — made only by bees in New Zealand that feed on the indigenous Manuka bush — is flying off the shelves despite its cost, which can be more than 5 times the price of regular honey for the higher UMF certifications.

The sticky substance can fetch such a high price because it can only be made in New Zealand, making it both rare and expensive to ship, says Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and author of the best seller “Keto Diet.”

“Making sure it’s specifically manufactured, packed and labeled in New Zealand and has the certification UMF, “unique manuka factor,” rating on the label, which should be UMF 10+ or higher.

“That will indicate how strong the anti-microbial benefits are,” says Axe.

‘If claims sound too good to be true, they probably are.’

Sadly there is no such thing as cheap certified UMF Manuka honey, the reason being that pharmaceutical and skin care manufacturers know the value of high quality certified honey and they are prepared to pay up for the genuine article so if you see it being sold cheaply in a store, market or on-line be very skeptical. 

The best advice according to Bill Guyas CEO of in New Zealand is to buy only certified Manuka UMF honey on-line directly from New Zealand from a reputable supplier.

He says that for the more expensive grades you may also get free shipping. 

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