Labels are for Jars, not for people! So, what is MGO/MG, UMF, ULF and NPA?

Looking for genuine Manuka Honey? Labels can be so confusing, so if the label excludes ratings such as; MGO/MG, UMF, ULF or NPA, then it’s generally a lower grade honey, without most of the beneficial characteristics that have made manuka honey unique, and in so much demand.

In this post, we will unveil why the labels are there, and what honey producers mean by them.

What is the difference between UMF and MGO?

Both UMF and MGO labels represent the standard indicator for concentration of bioactive chemical compounds in manuka honey. When applying bioactive chemical compounds to the skin, or digested, it can help your body resist infection, aid digestion and improve the health of your skin. UMF and MGO are both separate grading systems. UMF represents the Unique Manuka Factor, an advanced grading system incorporating MGO levels, and authenticity markers, including digydroxyacetone and leptosperin. Put simply, UMF is an indicator for the purity and the quality of the honey. MGO, the natural occurring compound in manuka honey stands for “methylglyoxal” the magical compound that makes manuka honey so unique. An MGO rating is the standard measurement of the methyglyoxal content, indicating quality.

What is MGO/MG?

(MGO or MG – “Methylglyoxal”) is 100% organic – a natural substance that is formed from the manuka honey bush flowers, namely Leptospermum Scoparium. They grow to a height of about 15 to 20 feet. This magical MGO compound contains antibacterial and antiviral activity presence and is transmitted to the honey bee during pollination.

Once this tiny winged insect has a full load of nectar, it flies back to the hive to regurgitate and spread its load all over the comb. This remarkable compound is resistant to heat, enzymatic activity, light and body fluids, making it a far superior blend of delicious honey.

The MGO level is tested for its concentration and correlates directly to the antibacterial properties present in the honey. Having said that, leptospermum scoparium is a positive indicator of the uniqueness of this particular type of honey and enables the buyer a direct means of knowing the level by its label.

Q. How is the MGO level labelled? 

A. Between 83+ to 1000 +

What is UMF and ULF?

The (UMF) “Unique Manuka Factor” label is issued by the (UMFHA) “Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association of New Zealand”,  an independent body who analyse and oversee each batch of honey in order to protect the integrity of the honey. This is simply another alternative scale to testing the MGO level. Most genuine producers include a rating on their label because testing high grade manuka honey for authenticity, is paramount.

Once the product has been packed for distribution, UMFHA must undergo a number of tests to show its natural, unadulterated honey, and grading of potency to confirm that the label is true. Their ratings are based on specific natural markers, such as; leptosperin and methylglyoxal. The UMF Equivalent Rating Labels will show a clear indication of the true NPA properties in the honey.

In New Zealand, the (UMF – “Unique Manuka Factor”) Scale matches the (ULF  – “Unique Leptospermum Factor”) in Australia.

Q. How is the UMF level labelled? 

A. Between 5 to 25

What is NPA?

The UMF Grading System measures the (NPA – “Non-Peroxide Activity”). This terminology refers to the industry’s standard phenol disinfectant. Labels that show the opposite, such as “total activity” or “peroxide activity” are an indication that the honey will not have that special NPA property. Genuine NPA manuka honey has the presence of MGO and is also converted into a rating system.

Q. How is the NPA level labelled?

A. Between 5+ to  22+

I just can’t help pollen in love with this compound!