It is estimated that up to 80% of all honey labelled as Manuka honey is not legitimate Manuka. To ensure your Manuka Honey is genuine, look for UMF® (Unique Manuka Factor) on the label.

UMF® grading tests for 4 markers in Manuka including Methylglyoxal, NPA & Leptosperin. This is what gives Manuka honey its unique properties.

The higher the UMF® number, the purer the Manuka properties.

Our Manuka is independently tested and certified


  • Anything labelled ‘Active’ or 'Total Activity’ is not permitted under NZ Government labelling guidelines, and only measures for Peroxide Activity
  • Peroxide Activity is something found in all honey and breaks down quickly with heat and time



The name "Active" is used by many to refer to the ‘total peroxide activity’ which is enzyme-created hydrogen peroxide. This substance is not unique to Manuka and can be found in most honeys. This substance breaks down quickly during storage and therefore loses its effectiveness very quickly. The word "active" does not indicate the honey has the special unique ‘non-peroxide’ property, which is only found in Manuka honey.

There is no independent auditing and monitoring of honey called ‘active Manuka’ honey nor of honey labelled ‘Manuka’ honey other than that labelled with the UMF® trade mark. In fact the New Zealand Government has banned the use of the active grading system as they have said it is misleading. Unfortunately however ‘Manuka’ that is packed in overseas markets can still be labelled this way, which creates confusion for consumers.



UMF® is a quality trademark and grading system that guarantees the purity of the Manuka honey you are buying.

It uses the most comprehensive and transparent test currently available for Manuka honey. It appraises a number of natural markers found in Manuka Honey to assure its purity and quality.

In order to be certified UMF®, Balqees tests for Manuka markers across 4 different spectrums,including the recently discovered Leptosperin marker – (which is unique to Manuka) - as well as other compounds such as Methylglyoxal (MGO). Other competing grading systems only test for one marker (MGO) as their reference point for grading.

Unfortunately, MGO can be adulterated and can be found in other honeys. Therefore MGO is not a good test for Manuka purity (see link) https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/country/381426/manuka-honey-producer-charged-in-landmark-case

Leptosperin is an abundant, stable and scientifically researched marker that is unique to Manuka honey in New Zealand. Steens - as part of the UMF® association, has the rights to test exclusively for this key characteristic of Manuka honey.

This clearly differentiates UMF® graded honey as a truly genuine Manuka honey - a claim that other grading systems cannot make.



Genuine UMF® Manuka honey must comply with all six of the following criteria:

✓ It has the quality trademark UMF® clearly stated on the front label

✓ It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand

✓ It is from a New Zealand company licensed to use the quality trademark UMF®

✓ It has the UMF® licensee's brand name and licence number on the front label

✓ It has a rating number alongside the trademark UMF® - a number on its own or without the trademark UMF® does not identify genuine UMF® Manuka Honey

✓ It must have a minimum level of Leptosperin & MGO to be graded UMF®



Unfortunately, a lot of ‘Manuka’ honey being sold internationally is not legitimate Manuka honey. It is in fact low strength Manuka blended with other honey types such as Kanuka.

Kanuka is a plant that is prevalent in the South Island of New Zealand and it looks identical to the Manuka tree. It flowers at approximately the same time as the Manuka bush in New Zealand and is often mistaken as Manuka for these reasons. Unfortunately, Kanuka does not contain DHA, Methylglyoxal or Leptosperin, which are the key components that give Manuka its unique properties.

Even with Manuka that is harvested from legitimate Manuka sites, the concentration of these properties can vary from batch to batch.

UMF® grade Manuka honey is graded to ensure that all of these marker levels meet set criteria for each grade


What Do the Numbers Mean?

To receive a UMF® grading, a honey must have the presence of DHA (dihydroxyacetone), Methylglyoxal and Leptosperin. The UMF® rating is a measure of the attributes and values that make up Manuka honey and assures purity & quality.