Just because it carries a number doesn’t mean it’s Manuka
How do you know it’s true Manuka honey?
Manuka honey’s reputation comes from the unique bioactivity in the honey. Long after most other honeys have lost their natural benefits, Manuka honey retains it.
But how do you know what activity level your honey contains? And how do you know that the activity level actually means something?
The easiest first step is to ensure any honey you buy is packed and labelled in New Zealand. This ensures that whatever it says on the label is actually what’s in the jar.
Once you’ve checked that then you can look at the activity level. The two primary standards used are UMF® and MGO. What’s the difference?
The two markers represent different ways of measuring the activity in the honey. Hang in there … it’s about to get sciency!!
When scientists first set out to test Manuka honey activity they found the level of non-peroxide activity (eg antibacterial properties) correlated to the levels of Methylglyoxal in the honey. So when you see MGO 300 – that means the level of MGO in the honey is 300.
While MGO is the key to determining the UMF® level of Manuka honey, it cannot be used on its own to prove whether a honey is authentic Manuka Honey. While present in Manuka honey MGO is also present in a range of other foods and plants.
The UMF® mark was originally developed to indicate the level of activity in Manukahoney but also provide assurances as a quality mark. The UMF® Association has over 100 members and all members must ensure honey that carries the UMF® mark complies with strict guidelines and is independently tested.
In order to carry the UMF® mark, the honey must not only meet minimum standard of MGO but also other markers some of these found only in Manuka. That way consumers can be sure that the honey is genuine Manukahoney – not just active honey.
Just because it carries a number doesn’t mean it’s Manuka.
The Ministry for Primary Industry of New Zealand recently released guidelines on the definition of Manukahoney.
Under the new guidelines it is possible for honey to be a Manuka blend (eg a mix of Manuka and other honeys either naturally or artificially blended) and still have an MGO rating.
However under the UMF® Association rules members can only apply the UMF® mark to honey that is defined as monofloral Manuka (eg true Manuka).
MGO to UMF
If you want to find out what an MGO300 is in UMF® you can check ExportX’s great calculator here to convert the difference.
But remember it’s not just about the number, it’s about quality.
So the easiest way to work out whether you are buying true Manukahoney is to look for the UMF mark.
To find out why you should trust Manuka Extra honey – read this.