UMF Certification is the global, independent quality mark and rating system for Manuka honey. It guarantees that the honey you purchase has been independently tested and contains the three signature UMF bioactives – Leptosperin, DHA and Methylglyoxal.
The higher the UMF grade, the stronger and more effective the honey is. Selecting the right UMF grade for you may feel like a daunting task.
What is UMF Certification?
New Zealand Manuka Honey has taken the world by storm, and the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) grading system is at the heart of the honey’s allure. The Unique Manuka Factor is the global quality standard for genuine Manuka honey, and it’s an assurance that the product you are buying meets stringent international guidelines for purity, potency, and authenticity.
A UMF certified label will display a number that indicates the level of MGO in the honey, along with a statement that the honey is UMF graded by the Unique Manuka Honey Association. The honey must be sourced, produced, packed, and labelled in New Zealand to meet the requirements for UMF certification.
The association has a rather stiff fee to join, and not all beekeepers, manufacturers, and beekeeper coops are willing to pay the money and allow external inspection of their operations to guarantee EXTERNAL Quality Control. This has led to a proliferation of competing brands, logos, and rating systems in direct competition with the Official UMF Trademark and association.
Why is UMF Certification Important?
If you want to make sure that the honey you are buying is genuine Manuka Honey then you should choose UMF certified. The UMF trademark is a quality mark that only certifies real Manuka Honey from New Zealand. It has been independently tested by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association to ensure it is all that it says it is.
This involves rigorous testing for a range of factors including the level of methylglyoxal (UMF), leptosperin and DHA (dihydroxyacetone). The latter determines the shelf-life of the honey. The higher the concentration of DHA, the longer it will remain in liquid form after being bottled. HMF (Hydroxymethylfurfural) is also tested for. The presence of this compound indicates that the honey has not been over-processed and is still raw.
Other brands, logos and rating systems may be offered but they cannot compare with the UMF certification system. The UMF association oversees all aspects of quality control. It is not a free service and there is an annual licence fee to use the UMF trademark.
How Does UMF Certification Work?
The UMF rating system appraises a number of natural markers in Manuka Honey. These include Leptosperin, Methylglyoxal (MGO) and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It also tests for other key factors that are associated with Manuka, such as oxidation and the presence of enzymes.
Only Manuka Honey that has passed all of these rigorous tests can carry the UMF label. UMF licensed Honey is guaranteed to be genuine monofloral Manuka from New Zealand and to have at least the level of activity indicated on the honey’s label.
The UMF Association has been overseeing the quality of Manuka in New Zealand for over 25 years. This includes ensuring that only the highest quality of New Zealand Manuka is certified for export. This ensures that consumers are receiving the best quality of the world’s most unique and versatile honey. The UMF trademark and rating is a globally recognised quality mark that stands for authenticity, integrity and quality. It is an important way of distinguishing true UMF certified Manuka from imitations.
What is the Difference Between UMF Certification and MGO Certification?
Unlike MGO, UMF certification is a more comprehensive grading system that includes testing for other important markers of genuine Manuka honey like leptosperin and dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It also tests for other unique properties of Manuka such as vitamin C content and antibacterial activity. UMF certification also requires that the lab used for the testing is ISO accredited, which ensures that the results are consistent and accurate.
Choosing the right UMF grade is all about matching your honey to your health goals. For example, UMF 15+ is popular among families and young professionals looking to add a bit of extra natural energy to their day. While UMF 20+ and higher offer a potent boost of MGO for making natural beauty masks, or for healing blemishes and wounds. Every jar of UMF certified Manuka also comes with a batch number that you can trace back to the producer, giving you an extra layer of confidence that you are getting genuine, quality Manuka honey.