Manuka Honey High UMF Choosing the Best and Most Authentic Honey


Manuka honey is a unique and powerful natural wonder, renowned worldwide for its beneficial properties. Produced by bees collecting nectar from the Manuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium) in New Zealand, genuine Manuka honey stands out from other honey varieties. However, shopping for the best Manuka honey can be challenging due to various grading systems and distinctions. In this article, we will explore the UMF™ and MGO ratings, understand the differences between them, and learn what factors to consider when selecting and buying high UMF Manuka honey.

Manuka Honey Grading Systems

The grading system for Manuka honey can be complex, with multiple systems in use. The two prominent ones are UMF™ (Unique Manuka Factor) and MGO (Methylglyoxal).

UMF™ Grading System

UMF™ is the strictest and highest graded Manuka honey measurement system. The UMF™ number on the label indicates the amount of MGO in the honey and provides a guarantee of authenticity, origin, and composition. The UMF™ rating can range from UMF™ 5+ to UMF™ 20+. Higher UMF™ ratings indicate more potent antibacterial activity in Manuka honey.

MGO Rating System

Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a naturally occurring compound found in Manuka honey. It is responsible for the unique antibacterial potency of Manuka honey. The MGO rating represents the amount of methylglyoxal in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of honey. For example, an MGO250+ Manuka honey product is certified to contain at least 250mg of methylglyoxal per kilogram of honey.

UMF™ vs. MGO – Which is Best?

The main difference between UMF™ and MGO is that UMF™ measures three chemical compounds found in Manuka honey (dihydroxyacetone, leptosperin, and methylglyoxal), while MGO only measures the methylglyoxal element. UMF™ provides a broader and more accurate indicator of authenticity, purity, and quality. It ensures that Manuka honey contains the full range of phytochemicals that make it unique.

While MGO is a simpler and more straightforward test, it does not provide the same level of assurance as the UMF™ mark. UMF™ is considered the gold standard for independent assurance of the origin, quality, and potency of Manuka honey.

Understanding UMF™ Grading

UMF™ stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is the only standardized industry-wide indicator of genuine Manuka honey from New Zealand. It authenticates the potency, purity, freshness, and New Zealand origin of a Manuka honey product. The UMF™ mark also guarantees that the honey meets the New Zealand government regulatory standard for Manuka honey and contains the broad suite of phytochemicals that make Manuka unique.

How UMF™ Measures the Signature Compounds

The UMF™ testing process measures three signature compounds found in Manuka honey: leptosperin, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and methylglyoxal (MGO). These compounds indicate high quality and authentic Manuka honey. Other grading systems may measure only one or two of these compounds, making UMF™ a more comprehensive indicator of honey quality.

Here is an approximate conversion guide between MGO and UMF™ ratings:

| Manuka Honey Type | Minimum MGO Rating | Minimum UMF Rating |
| UMF5+ | 83 | 5 |
| UMF10+ | 263 | 10 |
| UMF15+ | 514 | 15 |
| UMF18+ | 696 | 18 |
| UMF20+ | 829 | 20 |

UMF™ Certified Manuka Honey: What Makes it Different?

The UMF™ system is the gold standard for independent assurance of Manuka honey’s origin, quality, and potency. Only the highest quality Manuka honey carries the UMF™ mark. It is a guarantee of authenticity and purity.

The UMF™ mark is only granted to genuine monofloral Manuka honey from New Zealand. The UMF™ Honey Association, the governing organization, conducts independent testing of its members’ honey to ensure authenticity before it reaches retail and online stores globally.

Comvita, a pioneer and global leader in crafting Manuka honey, certifies all its monofloral Manuka honey with the UMF™ mark. This certification ensures the origin and quality of every jar of honey bearing the Comvita name.

UMF™ Strength and Health Benefits

Comvita offers Manuka honey with UMF™ strengths ranging from 5+ to 20+. The higher the UMF™ number, the higher the concentration of beneficial compounds in the honey. Higher UMF™ level honey tends to have a darker color and a distinctive tangy taste. The minimum level for monofloral Manuka honey is 80, and Comvita’s UMF™ 20+ is significantly higher than this.

The health properties of Manuka honey are believed to be more potent and effective with higher UMF™ ratings. The higher the UMF™ rating, the more antibacterial activity the honey has, thanks to the increased potency of MGO.

About Dr. Jackie Evans

Dr. Jackie Evans, PhD, is the Chief Science Officer for Comvita. With a background in microbiology and virology, Dr. Evans applies her scientific expertise to advance Comvita’s products. She ensures that the highest quality products backed by science reach consumers.


When choosing and buying Manuka honey, it is essential to understand the grading systems and distinctions. The UMF™ and MGO ratings play a crucial role in determining the authenticity, purity, and quality of Manuka honey. While both systems have their merits, UMF™ provides a more comprehensive and accurate indicator. Look for UMF™ certified Manuka honey, like Comvita’s range, to ensure you are getting the best and most authentic honey available.

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