Manuka Honey Labels: What Do All the Rating Systems Mean?

If you’ve heard about the positive reputation that MANUKA HONEY has towards healthy skincare, digestion, wound healing and more, when it comes to browsing such products, it can be overwhelming to see the different standards and ratings displayed on the packs. It’s important to understand the labels and choose the genuine and pure honey.

Here, we’re going to give you a lowdown on some of the more common Manuka labelling elements you may see, such as UMF™ and MGO Manuka honey.


Why Are Manuka Honey Rating Systems Needed?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that not all MANUKA HONEY is created equal; their potencies vary from pot-to-pot. The different testing systems look for certain elements (the lettering) that indicate a level of activity (the numbers).

Secondly, genuine Manuka honey is mostly cultivated in certain locations in New Zealand. Therefore, it presents quite the riddle, especially when the New Zealand Ministry For Primary Industries reports that around 1,700 tonnes of Manuka honey is produced each year, while it’s estimated that as much as 10,000 tonnes of honey with a ‘Manuka’ label are sold around the world annually. This demonstrates the importance of purchasing Manuka honey from a reputable and trustworthy business, such as Comvita™.


What Do Manuka Honey Rating Systems Mean?

Each set of letters you’ll see on a Manuka label will refer to the particular elements that have been tested. The numbers refer to the potencies of the tested honey – but what are these elements that the tests look for to place their potency ratings on? Here’s our guide:

  • MGO Manuka honey measures the levels of Methylglyoxal within the honey. Methylglyoxal (MGO) provides the antibacterial element that’s a key part of Manuka honey’s reputation.
  • Active or TA (Total Activity) is a test for the total amount of antibacterial activity that the Manuka demonstrates. As such, the numbers they present refer to both peroxide, which presents in all honey and is easily affected by heat and light, and non-peroxide activity.
  • UMF™ (Unique Manuka Factor) is an international quality trademark that can only be used by producers in New Zealand that produce natural, unprocessed Manuka honey harvested and packed in New Zealand. In order to gain the UMF™ trademark, their produce must undertake an independent test for 3 unique natural markers that are a clear indicator of genuine Manuka honey. These are Leptosperin (a unique chemical found only in Manuka plants), Methylglyoxal and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which helps to make the MGO in Manuka honey. The UMF™ system establishes firstly the authenticity of the Manuka before giving it a rating based on its potency.


Comvita™ UMF™ Manuka Honey

At Comvita™, we’re proud to present our own UMF™ Manuka that can be traced from our hives on New Zealand’s North Island, right to your home.

Every batch of Comvita UMF™ Manuka is tested independently and certified for its authenticity, quality and purity. This process is undertaken by the UMF™ Honey Association (UMFHA), which regularly undertakes random testing to ensure that the Manuka its trademark is displayed on is true to its label and can be trusted by customers.

Browse our range of UMF™ MANUKA HONEY to learn more.




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