May 22, 2012
-- The pharmaceutical industry is regulated very heavily by the Food and Drug Administration. Every pharmaceutical product undergoes extreme scrutiny and must endure rigorous new drug application procedures before it is approved. However, nutritional supplements and other natural products are not regulated in the same manner as pharmaceutical products. Therefore, a lot can fall through the cracks.
Consumers have been getting ripped off by natural products manufacturers for years. Products containing low potencies with ingredients that are not bioactive are sold for a low price in health food stores across the country. Thanks to the internet, consumers now have a way of researching products and reading product reviews by actual users rather than just being at the mercy of marketing ploys on labels.
In the past year, Manuka honey has become very popular in the U.S. market as a result of its many uses and impressive qualities. Due to the short supply of this unique type of honey, the price has increased substantially. This profit potential has prompted industrial pirates to get a piece of the action. Like the misfortune of other natural products that have suffered from poor quality, low price imitations corrupting the reputation of their better counterparts, Manuka honey is now at risk of the same character assassination.
Wedderspoon is one of the brands that is currently being criticized for misrepresenting the potency of their Manuka honey. It has been discovered that Wedderspoon Manuka honey that is labeled as active is, in fact, inactive. Independent laboratory reports revealed a potency level of 4+ on jars of their honey that were labeled as 12+ or 16+. Only Manuka honey with a potency level of 10 or higher is considered active.
Wedderspoon also claims their Manuka honey is organic but this classification is also in question. There is no USDA seal anywhere on the label and the manner in which honey is harvested makes its organic status difficult to establish. For example, it is easy to certify produce or livestock as organic because farmers can control whether or not they use pesticides, chemicals or antibiotics to grow them. However, bee farmers cannot control where the bees gather nectar from. Honeybees have been known to fly up to two miles from the hive in order to collect nectar. If the honeybees use the nectar from flowers of a neighboring farm that are not certified organic, it won’t be possible to certify the honey they produce.
Consumers are encouraged to do their due diligence and find out which brands are reputable before making a purchase. When it comes to using products for health purposes, quality is imperative. The placebo effect only goes so far when it comes to certain conditions. Don’t perpetuate the sale of inadequate products that ride on the coattails of better quality products. Your health depends on it.