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manuka activity

Bee Informed: The Definitive Guide To Rating Manuka Honey


This blog article is intended to give clarity to consumers that they are buying certified Manuka Honey that contains antibacterial properties. Mark Twain once penned, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics!” Too often slick marketers confuse consumers through misdirection – and that includes manipulating the grading systems of Manuka Honey.

But First, Why Manuka Honey Is So Unique

Manuka Honey is sought after because it contains antibacterial activity. All honey starts out with these properties but when it is heated for pasteurization, the heat severely degrades the hydrogen peroxide inherent in honey and therefore degrades the antibacterial honey – but Manuka Honey still displays antibacterial properties even after pasteurization!

However, NOT all “marketed” Manuka Honey has these antibacterial properties, hence the creation of a grading system that measures the active ingredient methylglyoxal (MGO) responsible for these properties. Numbers can be misleading – it’s not always the higher the number the better the honey – it’s about the medicinal properties the honey contains and what grading system is used. For example, a UMF 10+ factor is much better than a KFactor 22 as explained below.

The Four Most Common Grading Systems and Which Are Best

  • UMF 10+ (Unique Manuka Factor) – this grading is run by the reputable UMF Honey Association and is considered the gold standard by New Zealand as the most reliable grading method for non- peroxide activity (NPA) and purity.

Pacific Resources International (PRI) uses the UMF grading system for its UMF product range of Manuka Honey. The PRI Manuka range is tested for the combined peroxide (PA) and non-peroxide (NPA) activity. This range generally has a lower UMF rating so is not rated as UMF but still very effective. Independent lab tests are available for every jar of honey.

  • KFactor 22 – this grading system was created and used exclusively by one Manuka Honey supplier. It is misleading in that their grading system (for marketing purposes) measures purity, NOT the antibacterial properties.
  • Bio Active 24+ – Other companies use grading systems labeled ‘active’ or ‘bio-active’; these are misleading and do not contain significant quantities of antibacterial activity and may not be 100% Manuka.
  • MGS – The Molan Gold Standard (MGS) was created by Dr. Peter Molan, the New Zealand scientist who originally discovered the antibacterial activity of Manuka Honey.

The Bottom Line – Bee Informed

Look for a product with the label designation of UMF Manuka Honey and MGS. Third party independent testing and verification ensure the quality of the honey that’s in the bottle will match or exceed what’s on the label.

You deserve the best and have confidence that you are buying the highest quality of Manuka Honey from New Zealand.