An Auckland honey company that added substance to its mānuka honey to boost its value has been ordered to pay more than $370,000.

It is the first prosecution of its kind over mānuka honey, which naturally has antibacterial benefits.

In April, Evergreen Life Limited and a company manager Jason Lee pleaded guilty to seven representative charges of selling adulterated honey with intent to deceive for material gain and of selling non-compliant honey.

The charges were brought by the Ministry for Primary Industries, under the Animal Products Act.

MPI has a strict definition for what constitutes mānuka honey, including that nothing is added or removed to the final product.

At the Auckland District Court, Judge Eddie Paul said the offending was motivated by greed.

Judge Paul ordered the company to pay $260,000 and Lee $112,000.

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