Manuka Honey Rating System

Manuka Honey Rating System

This slide helps explain UMF and MGO, Source Comvita, 2017

Don’t get ripped off next time you go to purchase Manuka Honey.  Many customers over pay for their Manuka Honey simply because they don’t know which products are authentic and genuine and worth the extra price.  A quality Manuka Honey Rating System would definitely help people out here.  Join us as we attempt to explain the two most common rating systems used to identify the quality level of Manuka Honey.

This chart will help you next time you go to make a purchasing decision, because you will know that the higher number is worth the extra money.  Don’t get ripped off ever again!

Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Honey rating system

There are two main Industry Rating Systems used today.  The first one is called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Honey rating system.  It is an international trademarked rating system owned by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association.

Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association. Source 2017

The New Zealand producer needs to pay for an independent laboratory test to prove the purity and quality of the Manuka Honey contained in the jar. These include: the key markers of Leptosperin, Hydroxymethylfurfural (DHA) and Methylglyoxal.  (source:


The UMF rating system tests the level of antibacterial performance of raw Manuka honey and compares it to a known disinfectant – phenol. This means that a UMF rating of 20+ is equivalent in strength to a 20% solution of phenol.

In order for a jar of Manuka Honey to be considered “active”, it must have a UMF of 10+ (source: Aliveplushoney, 2017).

Methylglyoxal Rating System MG or MGO

The MGO rating is a trademarked measure of the Methylglyoxal content of Manuka honey. The trademark owners are Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd. Industry competitors often use the generic term MG to represent the levels of Methylglyoxal found in their honey. The MGO rating (or MG rating) measures the levels of Methylglyoxal content ONLY and it does NOT measure the levels of Leptosperin or Hydroxymethylfurfural (DHA).

Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Honey rating system vs MGO (or MG)

This slide helps explain UMF and MGO. Source: Comvita, 2017

Manuka UMF and MGO explained by Manuka Natural

Video Author: Manuka Natural                   Date Published: Nov 26, 2013

Welcome to Manuka Natural in New Zealand. I am Bill Gluyas and in an earlier video I mentioned the relationship between the compound Methylglyoxal referred to on some Manuka Honey labels as MGO and the longer standing method of interpreting the antimicrobial activity of Manuka Honey, UMF or Unique Manuka Factor.

Now today, I have drawn a small graph, its just indicative only. It gives us the relationship of the quantity of Methylglyoxal in Manuka Honey and the UMF Rating.

So you can see here that if we had a UMF level of for example of UMF 10+, it would be somewhat similar to around about 200 to 250 on the scale of Methylglyoxal which is measured in milligrams per kilogram of honey.

It’s not a linear, its not a straight line graph.  As the UMF level of certification increases upto say UMF 25+, which is really quite rare, the proportion of Methylglyoxal is (somewhat lower). Well it has to be so much higher in fact to reach that 25 UMF+ level.

Methylglyoxal is not the only compound that is responsible for the antimicrobial properties of Manuka Honey and it is only a measure of the quantity or the concentration of Methylglyoxal in the honey. Not totally, the antimicrobial properties or the antimicrobial effect of the honey in total.

UMF is a measure of how effective it is against certain bacteria. Methylglyoxal is a measure of the concentration of Methylglyoxal compound in the honey.

So if you have any comments, please comment to us and we will come back to you on that. Or if you think that other people could be interested in this explanation, please feel welcome to share this with other people.

If you would like to know more information about the amazing befits of Manuka Honey, please click here.

How do you use your honey at home? Do you use Manuka Honey or are you thinking of using Manuka Honey?  Please feel free to leave any comments, tips or advice regarding honey or any sweeteners in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by our website today.

4 Replies to “Manuka Honey Rating System”

  1. That’s very interesting. I never even knew they had a rating system for honey. It makes sense that they would, to ensure pure product with high levels of helpful compounds. Is this honey special due to a certain type of bee, location, plant, or is it unknown? You may have answered that and I missed it, but I was just wondering. Good article, every time I come here, I learn something new 🙂

    1. Good morning Keli,
      thank you for your kind words. Yes, the wonderful plant responsible for all of this is from the plant family “Leptospermum”. The common name of the plant is called “tea Tee” as in Tea Tree Oil etc. which enjoys a world wide reputation as a wonderful natural fighter for bacteria / fungus and infection. Tea tree oil/essence etc can only be applied externally (topically).

      The wonderful bees that visit these plants however, are kind enough to convert it into honey which is safe for us to consume. If you are curious to learn How Is Honey made, then please click here.

      This wonderful gift of honey gives us a massive antibacterial fighting boost, as a natural and wonderful everyday food source!

  2. Hi, I have a horse who fell on her knees and left gaping holes/wounds . There is no stitching by the vet as no skin. We are using manuka dressings to help the healing. If I wanted to buy off the internet as the vet charges such a lot what exactly am I looking for say in a jar of this honey.
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Judy,

      I am really sorry to hear that you much loved horse has a large injury. It must be a stressful time for you and the family knowing a beloved pet is hurting so much.

      You are correct to say that Manuka Honey is expensive. You are also right to make as any enquiries as you can to try and get the lowest price.

      When shopping around on the internet the #1 issue is actually FAKES. Yes, sadly there are lots of fakes out there and when you are dealing with an injury the risk of bacterial infection is a real concern. If you are going to buy Manuka Honey, it’s best that you only spend your money on the genuine article.

      So, my top tips for people dealing with a genuine medical need are:
      1) Deal only with Authentic Manuka Producers. If you don’t know the company name and it sounds “dodgy” – then simply don’t buy it. The two market leaders for Medical Grade Manuka Honey are Comvita (NZ) and Manuka Health (NZ). Capilano (AUS) are the #1 by sales volume and total litres sold, but they are generally products with a lower activity or rating level (mass market leader).

      A good product to take a look at include

      2) Medical Grading. In order to get the benefits of the higher Activity level unique to Manuka Honey, you need to purchase honey that has a UMF of at minimal of 5 or a MG / MGO of close to 80+. Anything less than this and it simply isn’t worth paying the extra money for the Manuka Honey activity level – because the levels present are so low that it’s not really worth the extra money.

      The Manuka Honey Grading system is confusing. Please click here for some more information

      3) A UMF of between 12-15 or more is considered “Medical Grade”. This is important because of the large open wound that you have described. Tips on how to apply the dressing (on humans) in included here. The #1 take home advice is to make sure that the wound gets 100% coverage. Please click here for a full explanation.

      4) Because the wound is so large and deep and the vet was unable to use stiches, the blood flow to the leg is exposed. As a result of this you will need to focus on getting Manuka Honey with a high “Non-Peroxide Activity” rating. To clarify, in standard honey the antibacterial activity is due to hydrogen peroxide, which is a very well-known antiseptic. When peroxide mixes with human blood it “fizzes and bubbles”. As the blood flow is exposed – you will need to avoid this “fizzing” in case it bothers the horse, so focus on “Non-Peroixide Activity levels.

      The best way to highlight the difference between non-peroxide activity levels and peroxide activity levels when it comes into contact with human blood is to watch this video by Professor Peter Molan. By the end of the this video you will be able to appreciate the difference a “NPA-rating” makes. You can then review the wound and make an assessment as to whether or not peroxide based honey or Non-Peroxide based honey is the way to go. From what you have described, it sounds like Non-Peroxide Activity would be better.

      The link is

      5) Price. Yes, genuine Manuka Honey is expensive. You are wise to “shop around”. I have found that buying the product directly from the Manufacturers website (so you know the item is 100% genuine) is not always the best way to get the lowest price.

      Lastly, please take a look at I have a soft spot for raw honey and this product is a very high quality product. Raw honey has many beneficial nutrients which are missing in heat treated honey. I wrote an article on the difference (for humans). My gut instincts are telling me that some of the natural waxes found in honey might offer some natural water proofing assistance to the wound. You have seen the wound though – you will need to be the best source of if this information is relevant or not. Talk to you vet as well.

      Judy, I am very sorry to hear that your horse is injured, I hope that you and your vet are able to work together to get a great result for the horse.

      Thinking of you in your time of need, thank you for visiting today.

      All the best to you and your horse and your family.

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