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Conflict of interest in Aussie honey scandal

Earlier this week some of Australia’s biggest honey brands faced accusations they were selling fake honey.

Now it seems there may be more to the story than first reported.

Capilano’s Allowrie-branded Mixed Blossom Honey was included in the list of those accused of being potentially “adulterated”, meaning they were mixed with something other than bee nectar.

Capilano CEO Dr Ben McKee rejected these claims when speaking with Ross Greenwood, bringing into question the validity of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing method that was used.

At the time Ross also raised concerns there was more to the exposé, saying he “didn’t feel that there was something quite right with the whole story”.

Well, today the legal affairs editor at The Australian, Chris Merritt, has published a story highlighting a substantial conflict of interest that wasn’t first reported.

Mr Merritt has told Ross “there is something unusual here” because the research report that formed the basis of the honey scandal “was commissioned by law firm King & Wood Mallesons on behalf of Mr (Robert) Costa”.

The important detail that was not disclosed in the initial reports “was that that law firm, King & Wood Mallesons, had another couple of clients who were trying to take over Capilano honey,” Mr Merrit tells Ross.

“Why this becomes interesting is the fact that it was not disclosed, had it been disclosed in the story…. that was given massive coverage, people could have made up their own minds about it.

“By not disclosing it, it deprives readers of the ability to make up their own minds.”

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