The Unique Manuka Factor
The delicious, sweet craft of the honey bee has been loved across the globe for thousands of years but more recently it is Manuka honey that has been gaining worldwide recognition for its incredible benefits. New Zealand Manuka bush honey contains extraordinary, naturally present, unique activity which is responsible for the internationally researched benefits of Manuka honey. This unique factor is not found in any other variety of honey, nor is it present in all Manuka Honey. As a consumer, how do you know you're buying Manuka honey with this unique activity?
Manuka Honey has special qualities
Manuka Honey has been hailed for its unique properties not found in other honeys. There is a significant international body of research into these benefits.
The UMF® Honey Association is an independent body which regulates the UMF® (Unique Manuka Factor™) Manuka honey quality trademark and protects your rights as a consumer through the maintenance of stringent, internationally recognised quality standards with regard to the production of UMF® rated Manuka honey.
As people become familiar with Manuka Honey's special qualities they understand why it is more expensive than normal table honey. While other honeys might have a degree of activity when they are first extracted from the hive (derived from hydrogen peroxide), it's not stable.
Manuka Honey is different: it has a further factor (a non peroxide activity or NPA) and synergistic effects which are stable and not affected by light or moderate heat. It is these which are responsible for the much-talked-about benefits of Manuka honey.
Look for UMF® on the label
If you buy UMF® Manuka Honey you can be confident that the product inside is true to label. There is an independent, internationally recognised verification programme that provides you with the opportunity to verify label claims. The label claim is to a level of Non-Peroxide Activity, a standard which compares the NPA of the honey using phenol (a widely used antiseptic) as a comparative standard. For example UMF® 12+ manuka honey has the equivalent non-peroxide activity of a 12% phenol solution.
NPA cannot be seen or tasted, so shoppers are totally reliant on accurate and honest labelling on the jar. The UMF® Honey Association is an organization that has set up an international programme of verification for the unique factor found in some Manuka honey. New Zealand producers and marketers who meet set criteria are licenced to use the UMF® quality trademark.
But the Association doesn't stop there! In order to qualify for the UMF® stamp of approval, the Association also:
- Verifies the honey's origin as being from New Zealand
- Has independent verification of production standards to ensure consumer safety
- Tests for other compounds that assist synergistically with the unique factor
The UMF® Honey Association uses laboratories that are accredited and have international standing and recognition.
Not all Manuka Honey carries the UMF® trademark
There is a plethora of other 'manuka honeys' and honeys from other countries on the market using a variety of descriptors and implied claims of containing NPA, such as 'active', 'bioactive', 'AAA' etc. These terms do not guarantee NPA qualities and any numbers that might appear on the jar such as +10 or +15 are meaningless to the retailer and consumer as they do not adhere to the recognised NPA standard behind the research on Manuka honey.
The UMF® Honey Association wishes to highlight that if honey carries the UMF® quality trademark, consumers can be confident they are purchasing a safe, high quality product which is true to label and offers the benefits associated with verified NPA levels in Manuka Honey.