Buyers Guide For New Zealand Manuka Honey

New Zealand has two major types of rating systems that are used to indicate the quality of Manuka honey. They are UMF and MGO or Methylglyoxal rated honey, any brand of honey that does not have these ratings is likely to be a low quality blended with Manuka honey honey.
There are several factors that need to be considered while checking for the UMF, MGO Methylglyoxal rating of Manuka honey and its a good idea to understand the two ratings so as to know which one is better in rating the quality of honey you are buying. On this page the two rating systems will be compared and some other factors of assessment for both criteria shall also be considered and of course you have the calculator above for your conversions.


UMF means Unique Manuka Factor. And its the older brother of the two rating systems, and uses a set criteria for determining the quality of Manuka Honey. This rating method was formulated by Dr. Peter Molan. In the UMF rating system, factors such as the concentration of Leptosperin, Methylglyoxal, and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) are considered. Non – Peroxide activity is tested for in each honey sample. UMF rating values range from 5 – 25. The ratings are normally labelled as UMF5+ UMF10+ UMF 13+, UMF 15+, etc,etc. The higher the UMF rating, the superior the honey is in quality. Also, the higher the rating, the higher the value of Non-Peroxide Activity, meaning that the honey has high antibacterial properties.
The credibility of the UMF rating lies in its greatest criticism. Some honey producers claim that the rating system is unreliable and that the rating often varies greatly for the same sample in two tests. For example two tests that are carried under varying experimental conditions on the same honey can give different results. For this reason, though it is still considered to be a nice indicator of antibacterial levels of the honey, the UMF rating has been considered by many bee keepers as to expensive to license for something thats unreliable and this has made a lot of honey producers begin to switch to another quality rating system (i.e. MGO) or even newer Methylglyoxal rating systems currently being tested in New Zealand.

The MGO Method

The MGO method was discovered in 2008 by a German professor called Thomas Henle. Under the MGO method, the major compound measured is the methylglyoxal. This compound is usually found in Manuka honey and the concentration of this compound varies in quality from one brand of honey to another. This could depend on the density of the manuka forest or the amount of time the honey has had to mature among many other things. According to the German researcher, it is this component that makes Manuka honey different from other honeys, and it is the Methylglyoxal which is responsible for the antibiotic properties of the honey which goes against earlier beliefs.
There have been study’s that have put the concentration of Methylglyoxal in this form of edible methylglyoxal at over 1000 times greater of what is found in normal honey , and many believe that its this level of Methyglyoxal occurring naturally that provides the yet unfound and unexplainable quality that some call Natures magic and is considered superior to the glucose oxidase enzyme found in other types of honey. In contrast to the UMF rating, MGO ratings look more like this Methylglyoxal 30+, 100+, 250+, 400+, 550+ and even up to over MGO800+ Honey for the highest quality Medical Manuka Honeys or MGO 30+ , MGO100+ etc etc

Methylglyoxal has been used to cure wide range of injuries, skin infections and burns. However you should always look for a Manuka honey that contains above 100mg of Methylglyoxal per 1kg at the least the higher the rating the better .
However MGO rating is not without its criticism too. It is possible for the amount of methylglyoxal to change over time without doing any superficial change to it. Therefore, it also is occasionally considered to be undependable, most especially when the honey is not being used for some period of time after it been packaged.

UMF and MGO are broadly used rating methods for Manuka honey. UMF rating method has been in use for a very long time and it is the most popularly used rating system by most honey producers yet has many critics. On the other hand, a pure Methylglyoxal rating is a new method that is just being adopted by many producers. The two rating methods give the consumers information about the quality of honey. Even though both rating methods have their criticism consumers can still depend on these ratings in assessing quality of honey as long as they understand to look for the correct representation of these rating systems on the labels of Manuka Honey they buy.

Always buy from New Zealand Bee keepers that have hives far away from populated areas in Manuka forests , Look for proof of the lot number and track the location of the hives, this should be avaialbe on every genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey Brand .

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