bee on manuka flower

There are many different grading systems for Mānuka honey but the two most recognised in New Zealand, where Mānuka honey comes from, are UMF and MGO. UMF is a broader and more comprehensive assessment of the honey's quality and beneficial compounds. MGO, on the other hand, measures just one factor: the concentration of methylglyoxal, which is a key component responsible for the honey's antibacterial properties. When choosing Mānuka honey, you can consider both the UMF and MGO ratings to get a more complete understanding of its quality and potential health benefits.

beekeeper holding honeycomb with bees


UMF, or Unique Mānuka Factor, is a specialised grading system used to evaluate the quality and authenticity of Mānuka honey. This system revolves around assessing the presence of four unique markers that are characteristic of genuine Mānuka honey. UMF is crucial for consumers looking to purchase high-quality Mānuka honey as it provides a reliable measure of its authenticity, purity, freshness and potency. The UMF rating, which typically ranges from UMF 5+ to UMF 20+ or higher, helps individuals make informed choices by indicating the honey's potential health benefits, with higher UMF numbers corresponding to a more potent and beneficial product. This grading system is recognised internationally and ensures that consumers can trust the authenticity and quality of the Mānuka honey they choose. It also guarantees the potency will last for the direction of the shelf life.UMF honey can only be packed in New Zealand to the strictest standards.


MGO, or Methylglyoxal, is a key bioactive compound found in Mānuka honey, renowned for its remarkable health-promoting properties. It is MGO that contributes to the unique antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities of Mānuka honey. MGO is a naturally occurring substance that forms in the nectar of the Mānuka flower, and its presence in honey is an essential marker of its authenticity and potency. The concentration of MGO in Mānuka honey can vary, and it is often used to quantify the honey's strength and effectiveness. Higher levels of MGO are associated with more potent honey, making it a valuable component of grading systems like UMF. MGO honey can be packed anywhere in the world

bee pollinating white mānuka flower bush

Grades of Mānuka Honey

MGO Rating System

The MGO rating system measures the concentration of methylglyoxal in the honey, typically expressed in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or parts per million (ppm). MGO ratings often range from MGO 30+ to MGO 900+ or more, with higher numbers indicating higher concentrations of methylglyoxal. MGO ratings are a more direct measure of the honey's antibacterial properties. It is important to take into account both when choosing your Mānuka honey and what you are looking for in a honey.

UMF and the 4-Factor Quality Assurance Testing

UMF is the only grading system to encompass four factors to rate Mānuka Honey, through independent laboratory testing:

  • MGO (methylglyoxal): identifies potency & antibacterial properties  
  • Leptosperin, the unique single Mānuka identifier: identified in-vitro as having anti-inflammatory properties  
  • DHA (Dihydroxyacetone): shelf life identifier  
  • HMF (Hydroxymethylfurfural): identities the freshness to ensure it is at peak

The UMF grade (usually a range between 5+ and 20+ or higher) determines the concentration of these specific nutrient compounds. The higher the grade, the more nutrient-dense the honey is. UMF Mānuka honey guarantees its potency, authenticity, shelf life and freshness.

UMF5+ is the perfect daily immunity support, UMF10+ is ideal as an immunity boost and UMF15+ is a more potent dose.

single bee on finger mānuka honeycomb tray

Mānuka Health Properties 

Mānuka honey is renowned for its exceptional antimicrobial properties, which can assist in fighting off infections and promoting overall health. Its wound-healing capabilities make it an excellent choice for treating burns, cuts, and other skin conditions. Mānuka honey has the potential to soothe sore throats, alleviate digestive issues, and boost the immune system, emphasising its versatility as a home remedy. With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, Mānuka honey is also increasingly being embraced in skincare routines to address acne and skin irritations. Ultimately, the natural goodness of Mānuka honey, derived from the nectar of the Mānuka tree in New Zealand, makes it a must-have for those seeking a holistic approach to wellness and well-being. 

Understanding these grading systems will equip you with the tools to confidently choose which Mānuka honey is right for you. At Taylor Pass Honey, our Mānuka Honey range is 100% pure, independently tested and guaranteed to have a UMF of 5+ or higher. 
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