Thank you for your review and for reaching out to us with your questions. Unfortunately there is a lot of information (and misinformation) available on the internet with Manuka honeys growing popularity, so we’re happy to provide insight whenever possible! First and foremost, in order to be sure you’re purchasing genuine Manuka honey, look for the New Zealand Fernmark or “packed in New Zealand’ on the label – these label call outs guarantees that the honey you have purchased has passed the rigorous standards the government of New Zealand has set for all Manuka Honey. You can find both on every jar of our Manuka honey. More information regarding the Fernmark Seal can be found here: https://www.fernmark.nzstory.govt.nz/
UMF and MGO are rating systems/methodologies used by other Manuka honey brands, but we do not subscribe to them. In February of 2018, the New Zealand government and their Ministry for Primary Industries (or MPI), launched a definition for Manuka honey – this standard was created after 3 years of peer-reviewed study and has determined that all monofloral and multifloral Manuka honey must consist of five attributes – four chemical markers and one DNA marker from Manuka pollen. More details on the standard can be found here: https://www.analytica.co.nz/Tests/Honey-Testing/MPI-5-Attributes-Manuka-Testing/Understanding-the-MPI-5-Attributes These 5 attributes are the New Zealand standard, but there is no standard “rating”.
UMF (which stands for Unique Manuka Factor) is a trade organization, not a regulatory authority. Membership to UMF is voluntary and is a paid membership. New Zealand’s MPI is the only regulatory authority. UMF measures three components that naturally occur in Manuka honey – DHA, Leptosperin, and Methylglyoxal (MGO). Interestingly, the government standard for Manuka honey does not include these 3 components in their five key attributes as detailed above.
Grading systems that rely on measuring isolated compounds within Manuka honey, whether it be MGO or the trademarked UMF membership organization, are inherently limited by the fact that chemistry can capture data at one moment of time and MGO is proven to be unstable over time and temperature variation. Manuka honey is made up of a number of distinct components, elements, and micro-nutrients which work in harmony to produce this multifaceted superfood. Manuka is simply more powerful than the sum of its parts.
Wedderspoon’s commitment to maintaining comprehensive Manuka honey integrity means that we do not focus on one chemical marker of Manuka. DHA is naturally found in Manuka and converts to MGO based on time and temperature, as this sample report from a New Zealand Manuka honey testing laboratory, Analytica, demonstrates. Unfortunately, this means that some Manuka honey companies take advantage of science to increase their commercial appeal and drive up the perceived value of their product by artificially increasing the MGO levels to their highest peaks before their eventual decline.
While all of us at Wedderspoon are aware of the marketing buzz that a high UMF rating might add to our products on the shelf, our team believes that protecting and promoting the natural state of raw Manuka honey best honors the legacy of our founders, the passion of our beekeepers and the holistic health of our customers.
At Wedderspoon, we developed KFactor (our marketing methodology) which was designed to measure the many things that we feel make Manuka so special. Our KFactor 12 and 16 are based on the MPI standard for multi and monofloral honeys but beyond that, focus on the ‘key factors’ of Manuka honey that are listed below. While our Manuka does contain DHA, MGO, and Leptosperin, we do not rate our honey based upon their levels.
As a baseline, every jar of Wedderspoon Manuka Honey passes the complex testing for New Zealand honey export. Further, you can be sure all of our KFactor Manuka honeys are:
• Non-GMO project verified
• Fully traceable back to hive
• Pesticide, chemical and antibiotic free
• Sourced and packed in New Zealand with every batch passing the MPI’s Manuka Standard
You can find more information on our website under the FAQ's and Manuka Standards tabs.
I hope this information helps but feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.