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Highlighting Importance of UMF® for Manuka Honey

15 May 2013  |  Admin

Despite what some shop staff or other websites may claim, not all Manuka honey currently being sold elsewhere is the same. If you are simply buying a honey as a spread because you like the taste, and you're happy with the taste you're getting, absolutely fine. However if you are choosing Manuka honey expecting to receive some extra healthy properties (because of the research that has been done on it), then it becomes rather more important to know just what it is you are receiving, and ensure you are getting something 'extra'.

All types of honey (whether manuka, acacia, clover, etc) can be 'active' to some extent from a hydrogen peroxide based activity when first taken from the beehive. Most honey types do not test for it or try to label their honey based on it. This hydrogen peroxide based activity is known to not be stable, and to naturally dissipate while stored. 

Genuine Manuka honey is different, and contains something extra: it has a further, additional antibacterial factor, which is stable (i.e remains in the honey over time) and is not affected by light or moderate heat. When it was first discovered this special extra property became known as the 'Unique Manuka Factor'. This special non-peroxide based activity is what all the supporting research behind Manuka is based on.

The non-peroxide property cannot be seen or tasted - so you are totally reliant on accurate and honest labeling on the jar.

UMF® is a quality control system, operated under trademark, so that only honey which correctly contain the special extra property, along with other quality criteria, are allowed to use the UMF® mark on their jars.

By buying a jar of UMF® certified Manuka honey you are assured of receiving the stated level of the special extra antibacterial property, the hydrogen peroxide activity is not measured and not included.

What other products are available? They are many examples of honeys labeled as 'Manuka' and 'Active' with a number. But how to you know what they have actually measured in their rating? Whilst the product may be perfectly safe to consume, some brands available simply do not contain any amount of the special extra antiibaterial property.

Look closely, and some brands will admit in the fine print that the number on their jar is based on 'TA' activity, which actually means the peroxide activity, the hydrogen peroxide activity that all honey can have, and that may no longer be of the same level in the jar because it is know to not be stable.

For taste, buy whatever your enjoy the most. For health, if it is the special additional antibacterial property you are seeking, then a jar carrying the UMF® certification means it has correctly been measured for the level of special additional activity.

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