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Honeymark Sues Wedderspoon for False Advertising
Honeymark alleges that Wedderspoon makes false and misleading claims with respect to the potency levels and organic status of their Manuka honey.
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand from bees that gather pollen solely from the Manuka bush. Although all honey appears to contain some level bioactivity, consumers consider Manuka honey to be special due to its additional and measurable non-peroxide activity. Research has confirmed that Manuka honey contains a naturally present, stable and unique non-peroxide activity which has a variety of benefits. As a result, consumers are willing to pay a substantially higher price for Manuka honey. Although this non-peroxide activity is unique to Manuka honey, not all Manuka honey contains sufficient levels of activity for therapeutic use.
The amount of floral nectar extracted from Manuka flowers used by the bees that produce this unique type of honey affects the level of non-peroxide activity of each batch of Manuka honey. The level of non-peroxide activity in Manuka honey is identified by a rating system that measures its potency. For example, Manuka honey which, as the result of lab testing, is found to have a rating of 16.3 using this method is labeled as 16+. Only Manuka honey that has a potency rating of 10 or greater is considered active. This rating system was designed, in part, to assist consumers in their purchasing decisions. Consumers rely on these ratings to distinguish the quality of Manuka honey and place a higher value on Manuka honey with higher potency levels. Consumers are willing to pay significantly more money for active Manuka honey compared to inactive Manuka honey.
When Honeymark had an independent laboratory in New Zealand test the Wedderspoon Manuka honey, the results revealed that Wedderspoon’
Honeymark also feels that Wedderspoon’
Wedderspoon blatantly lying about the potency level of their honey violates federal statutes which protect consumers against false advertising. Wedderspoon’
Honeymark’s attorneys are asking the courts for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief enjoining Wedderspoon from making the false, misleading and deceptive statements on its website and products labels. They are also requesting that Wedderspoon be require to retract and recall all products whose labels contain false, misleading or deceptive statements and award Honeymark compensatory damages and monetary relief as a result of their labeling deception.
This case will be a jury trial that will take place in Honeymark’s home state of Massachusetts.