UMF Honey Association’s “Know your Manuka Honey”campaign

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?

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.

  • What’s so special about Manuka Honey?

  • Why should I look for UMF® on the label?

  • What is my local health food store doing to protect me as a consumer?

What’s so special about Manuka Honey?

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.

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.

Why should I look for UMF® on the label?

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 (and you can view those licensed to use the UMF® Quality Trademark available in UK health food stores here).

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.

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.

 

What is my local health food store doing to protect me as a consumer?

The UMF® Honey Association is here to establish a verification programme to protect the consumer against fraudulent and adulterated products, which is why they are contacting UK shops to let them know the importance of stocking manuka honey that is true-to-label with the internationally recognised quality trademark UMF®. You are likely to see posters, window stickers and information leaflets going up in your nearest stockists over the coming months to support this.

The UMF® Honey Association has forged links to the UK Government’s leading independent biological and chemical analysis laboratory, FERA (The Food and Environment Research Agency). You and your local health food store will have the chance to submit honey for testing, thus protecting you, the consumer, from adulterated or fraudulent products.

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.

 
 
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