UMF™ Honey Association – Protecting Consumers for 25 Years

August 18, 2022

Known as the liquid gold of the honey world, New Zealand mānuka honey is a highly sought-after superfood with remarkable health properties that set it apart from other honeys and natural health products.

It’s also relatively scarce. New Zealand’s native mānuka tree, which the honey is derived from, flowers just once a year. This means the nectar the bees feed on is in short supply and sourced deep in forests, making mānuka honey more difficult to harvest than regular honey.

There’s no surprise that something so precious is a target for counterfeit products. The US Pharmacopeia’s Food Fraud Database identifies honey to be  the third most faked food product globally, with evidence suggesting that mānuka honey fraud is even higher.

So consumers need help to identify the real deal, native New Zealand mānuka.

For 25 years, the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association (UMF™ Honey Association) has set the standard for consumer protection in this market.

The golden standard in mānuka honey

In 1997, UMF™ was developed as a quality mark to independently certify pure, authentic, quality New Zealand mānuka honey.

The quality mark and rating are  recognised internationally and validate mānuka potency, authenticity, purity, shelf life and freshness for honey producers, brands and consumers around the world.

You can be sure of the following things when you see the UMF™ quality mark and rating:

Single source of origin

The UMF™ identifies authentic New Zealand mānuka, so consumers can be sure it is derived from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium – a distinct New Zealand species, known as mānuka by Māori, that’s unique to the soil of New Zealand and the people, culture and values we hold.

Research over many years has identified more than 2000 unique chemical markers that set honey harvested from New Zealand Leptospermum scoparium apart from any other honey produced in New Zealand, let alone elsewhere in the world.

This unique chemical footprint includes the components underpinning the natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make New Zealand mānuka honey so effective in supporting health and general wellness.

The UMFHA quality assurance ­­system ensures  honey packed and sealed in New Zealand is true to the pure New Zealand mānuka profile. And because no mānuka honey can be imported into New Zealand, there is only one origin for UMF™ certified honey.

Quality testing and traceability

Mānuka honey is a living product, rich in amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins and bioactive compounds. Mishandling can affect its activity and shelf life, so great care is necessary to ensure consumers around the world are delivered a product of exceptional quality with the full health benefits they would expect from New Zealand mānuka honey.

To ensure it’s not tampered with during export, the UMFHA only certifies New Zealand mānuka honey traceable to where it is packed and sealed for retail in New Zealand.

We focus on testing what matters for the consumer. The UMFHA’s four-factor quality test certifies the four key bioactive components of natural mānuka,  which means you know what grade of honey you are buying and  that it reaches you in the best possible condition to meet your needs.  It validates potency, authenticity, freshness and purity of honest manuka honey and verifies the genuine UMF™ rating of each batch. For a product to be certified, it must pass all tests from our laboratory partners and receive a release certificate, which can be viewed by consumers anywhere in the world, offering an unprecedented level of transparency.

You can be assured UMF™ mānuka honey leaving New Zealand has met quality standards that exceed the New Zealand government’s minimum definition of mānuka honey.

No other honey undergoes such comprehensive testing

The UMF™ rating the only option for anyone seeking independent assurance that their purchase will support their health and wellness.

Global research

UMFHA support of research partners over decades has been foundational in identifying the unique properties of New Zealand mānuka and how it supports health and wellness.

We continue to support research that increases knowledge of the health benefits and increases consumer trust  in this amazing honey from a tree that is a national treasure. Driving research into new areas is we growing our understanding of mānuka honey’s 2000-plus bioactive components and how they work together all the time.

We’ve only just scraped the surface. Our industry is committed to further discovering the, as yet, poorly understood science behind the many benefits of mānuka honey.

For this research to continue, it’s important consumers recognise the benefits and value of authentic New Zealand manuka as a superior natural health product, and have the confidence provided by the UMF™ quality mark. If mānuka honey becomes commoditised, there is a risk no one will invest in ongoing research and the knowledge of mānuka, which is in its infancy, will stop.