How it works:
- Made from the nectar of the manuka bush flower, manuka honey has anti-bacterial properties which is prized by many.
- Unfortunately, as manuka honey began to get popular, fakes began to proliferate in the market, with estimates tagging around half of such products sold globally as fakes.
- The good news is that the authorities in New Zealand have put in much effort to stamp out fraud in the industry.
- Version 1: adding artificial dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to non-manuka honey or weak manuka honey to make it appear stronger and then selling it at a higher price. However, artificial DHA is not designed to be used for food and its food grade has not been tested.
- Version 2: labelling the product with meaningless numbers, rating systems or certifications to mislead consumers into thinking that it is Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) accredited when it is not.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- The best way is still, to buy direct from the beekeeper, though this is not a practical option for most.
- Else, the UMF Honey Association suggests buying products with these properties:
- Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) stamp.
- Jars labelled in New Zealand.
- A New Zealand company that is licensed to use the UMF rating with licensee’s name is displayed.
- A UMF rating of 5 and above (5-9 indicate low levels of beneficial properties, 10-15 indicate useful levels, 16 and above indicate superior levels).
- For products using the MGO ratings – MGO of 83 = UMF of 5+, MGO of 263 = UMF of 10+, MGO of 514 = UMF of 15+; you can also use this calculator to convert the ratings.
- Finally, check that the product has been independently tested – in New Zealand, it will be by Analytica Laboratories and Hills Laboratories.