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Why honey is WA’s new liquid gold


The humble honey bee is behind a WA liquid gold rush.

Medicinal honey is the new buzzword in the apiary industry and the State’s unique jarrah and marri honey is soaring in global demand, as new testing reveals it is packed with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

The prized honey – which has been found to eclipse the health benefits of New Zealand’s famous manuka honey – is now fetching as much as $1000 a kilogram in speciality stores in Asia.

WA’s strict quarantine laws means bees here are unaffected by pests and diseases, leaving our honey untainted by antibiotics or pesticides.

Driving the liquid gold rush is a new certification process – developed by industry and food testing laboratory ChemCentre with the aid of a $500,000 State Government grant – that for the first time has proved the health benefits of WA “monofloral” honey, including jarrah and marri, also known as red gum.

ChemCentre principal food scientist Ken Dods said his research showed jarrah and marri honey was unique to WA with “higher levels of antimicrobial activity than manuka honey”.

Michael Bellman, the WA manager of Capilano-Wescobee, the State’s biggest honey supplier, said the health benefits of WA’s most prized honey were already being reflected in skyrocketing prices in Asia. “The Asian market is screaming for our honey. There are 4000 tonnes of honey produced a year in WA and we can’t get enough of it,” Mr Bellman said.

He said the wholesale price in WA for marri honey had jumped 50 per cent in three months to $10 a kilo, while “jarrah is now anything up to $50-$100 a kilo, depending on the anti-bacterial levels”.

Also driving the liquid gold boom is a new Co-operative Research Centre led by the University of WA and set up to boost the value and capacity of the honey industry.

Spokeswoman Dr Liz Barbour said the price of WA honey and bee products “doesn’t reflect their unique, pure qualities” with “one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world”.


Source: Perth Now