UMF Manuka Honey Grading System Explained

UMF Manuka honey ratings and MGO ratings can be incredibly confusing when comparing brands and searching for the best quality Manuka honey. Every company seems to use different methods to identify the potency of their honey. Many with malicious intent to confuse and mystify. 

Here at PURITI, we aim to be completely transparent about our ratings and offers the best product we possibly can. That way you know exactly what you are getting in each jar of honey. 

In this article, we aim to explain the individual methods and what they mean. Demystifying the honey market. 

The Methylglyoxal (MGO) Grading System

Developed by Professor Thomas Henle in 2008, this grading system measures methylglyoxal - a chemical that naturally occurs in Manuka honey. The MGO grading system measures how much MGO is present in the batch of honey. This unique chemical compound is what gives Manuka honey topically effective antibacterial properties. 

The higher the MGO rating, the more potent the honey. 

This is a common method throughout the Manuka honey world. However, it doesn’t take into account the other components/compounds needed in high-quality Manuka honey to authenticate provenance and identify potency. 

Methylglyoxal can also be synthetically added to the honey before testing which can alter the results. Furthermore, large numbers can be increasingly misleading, confusing and not necessarily equate to genuine Manuka Honey. 

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Grading System

The UMF Grading System is set on the foundation of the Ministry of Primary Industries, Manuka Honey Science Definition and is a grading system developed by the UMF Honey Association in New Zealand.

The MPI Science Definition checks for four critical chemical markers from the nectar and one DNA marker from the pollen. The UMF rating tracks key signature markers: Leptosperin, Methylglyoxal and DHA as well as HMF. These all need to be present at certain levels in order to assign an accurate UMF rating. The higher the levels of all components, the higher the UMF rating. 

Leptosperin is a unique component to pure Manuka honey in New Zealand and cannot be fabricated. This ensures you are buying genuine Manuka honey. 

To ensure what you are buying has not been mixed with other kinds of honey, check it is a monofloral variety, that the label correctly showcases it is genuine Manuka honey and the UMF Mark is clearly displayed.

The UMF Mark also ensures that the honey is:

  • Produced, packed and labelled in New Zealand. Manuka honey is exclusively native to New Zealand. Overseas produced/packed honey could be mixed with other varieties of honey.
  • Tested to identify the source and purity. 
  • Independently Audited to ensure you get the right potency of NZ Manuka honey for the UMF rating. 
  • Proof of Authenticity – The official UMF quality mark and certification is only issued once all the requirements have been met.
  • The UMF quality mark is only available to License holders that have met the strict requirements of the UMFHA 

A higher UMF rating means more potent honey which can be darker in colour with a stronger earthy Manuka taste. Ratings with a UMF rating of above 10+ are considered high grade. PURITI honey ranges from a 5+ UMF all the way to 31+ UMF

It is the gold standard for assuring origin, purity, potency, quality and strength.  

The PURITI Difference 

Here at PURITI, we take it one step further. Our honey showcases both UMF and MGO ratings clearly on the front of our unique, counterfeit-proof jars of honey. All our honey is UMF certified and independently tested.

Tested to more stringent levels than legally required, we have our own grading system above and beyond the legal requirements, setting the standards for other Manuka honey brands. 

For example, our PURITI Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 12+ is required to have an MGO score of 400+. This is above the legal requirement of 356+.  

These are just some of the steps we take to create some of the best Manuka honey in NZ. One of the best Manuka honey brands in New Zealand, we even test both our exported and NZ sold honey! 

Buy our Manuka honey online or in PURITI selected stores for all your wellness needs.


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