Here are some tips on finding the best mānuka honey
When you’re browsing mānuka products, you may come across a collection of numbers and letters on labels and in product descriptions. These generally refer to the grading system that the honey has been tested against. Common ones you may find include, MGO and UMF.
UMF (Unique Mānuka Factor) is an internationally recognised grading system used to assess the purity, authenticity and quality of mānuka honey. Every product carrying the UMF trademark has been independently tested by the UMFHA (Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association), who awards the grading (the number that accompanies the UMF lettering), based upon the unique properties that are found in genuine mānuka.
UMF is the only system that tests for the three unique chemical markers of mānuka honey, which are:
Methylglyoxal (MGO) is the naturally-occurring compound that makes mānuka honey so special. The MGO rating system is a test for the methylglyoxal element only. This is because there was a case where MGO was added to honey after it was collected; and with many retailers selling MGO-rated products the system was unable to determine if you had 100% natural mānuka honey.
Leptosperin can only be found in the nectar of mānuka and cannot be fabricated. Due to its unique abundance in mānuka honey, it has been identified as one of the standout characteristics that distinguishes mānuka from other types of honey.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is present within the nectar of mānuka flowers. Once the bees gather the nectar and turn it into honey, it converts naturally into MGO over time.
Once these elements are verified, the honey can then be graded. UMF strength can range from 5+ to 20+, with 20+ indicating the highest level of beneficial compounds.
So, when you see a UMF symbol on a jar of mānuka honey, you can rest assured that you’re looking at the most genuine and highest quality honey on the market.