Living here in New Zealand is a wonderful lifestyle, and we’re spoiled with some of the best produce, meats, seafood and honey! in the world.

However, there’s one thing that has bothered me for many years and that is the fact we still allow glyphosate to be used in New Zealand.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a very common herbicide and pesticide, used mostly for preventing weed overgrowth.

It is widely used in agriculture, forestry, and even in regular backyard vegetable gardens.

Glyphosate is a known carcinogen according to the WHO and I’m not quite sure why we still allow to be used in our clean, green nation, but it is permitted nationwide and used widely.

Obviously, we don’t use any glyphosate on any of our land, but with beekeeping, things are slightly more difficult.

As you know, bees can fly up to 6km in any direction when they forage, and so even a farm many miles across town that uses glyphosate has the potential to contaminate your honey.

In fact, New Zealand honey can be so high in glyphosate that Japan has rejected shipments of New Zealand honey in the past due to excessive glyphosate levels.

Japan detected glyphosate (0.02mg/kg) in manuka honey from three brands in random testing at the border. These levels are unacceptable in Japan, as glyphosate is known worldwide to be a carcinogenic toxin.

This is a huge shame for the manuka honey industry, because it is extremely hard to get certified as glyphosate-free. Even if you do everything right, one rogue farmer down the road can completely compromise your entire season of harvest.

The only way you can be sure that everything you produce is glyphosate free is by controlling all the land within a 5-6km radius of your production, or to produce in an extremely remote area with no other operations around.

Is There Any Glyphosate-Free Manuka Honey?

Yes! We are very fortunate to have producers in New Zealand who take the health risk of glyphosate very seriously, and have committed to keeping their entire production cycle glyphosate free.

This is one of the reasons our top recommended manuka honey is from New Zealand Honey Co.

They are the only local producer we know of currently that has their honey fully certified as glyphosate-free by The Detox Project, and every single batch needs to be tested and achieve a ND (not detected) grading before export.

Is Glyphosate Really That Dangerous?

It depends on who you ask.

New Zealand has a limit on allowed glyphosate levels in food, which is currently 0.1mg/kg.

Japan’s allowed glyphosate level for honey specifically is 0.01mg/kg, almost 10x lower.

There is a reason these restrictions exist. In 2015, the International Agency For Research On Cancer (IARC) run by the WHO said after a meta-analysis of 1,000 studies that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

The Detox Project, which certifies foods as glyphosate free, believes there is no such thing as a “safe” level of glyphosate, and that it shouldn’t be present in any foods at all.

The reality is, glyphosate is still the most commonly used herbicide in the world, and you probably won’t be able to avoid it completely.

However, making an effort to eat glyphosate-free foods where possible can only be beneficial to your health.

Again, we think manuka honey is one of the best superfoods available to use today, and we eat it daily!

Our top recommendation is the UMF 24 manuka honey from NZ Honey Co – potent, delicious, and 100% glyphosate free.

You can read our full review of NZ Honey Co here.

Happy honey!

About the author 


I'm Erin, and my family has been raising bees for over two generations. We no longer raise bees on Manuka flowers, but it remains one of our favorites, and we eat it daily, among other honeys like Kamahi and Rata. Since Manuka has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, we thought we should educate people on the true benefits of Manuka and how to find quality Manuka honey. Haere mai to our site, written by us and designed by our brilliant computer whiz of a son, Byron. We hope you find it helpful!

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