What is UMF certification, and why is it important for Manuka honey?

Close-up of a Nate’s New Zealand manuka honey bottle showing UMF 10+ and MGO 263 ratings, indicating its strength.

Nate’s provides consumers with only the highest-quality honey, so it was imperative that standards be maintained with Nate’s Manuka honey. For that reason, it is UMFTM certified. UMFTM stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is a quality assurance grading system under the governance of the UMF Honey Association (UMFHA). This comprehensive, independent certification is recognized internationally as the gold standard to validate the potency, authenticity, shelf life and freshness of New Zealand Manuka honey. UMFHA also supports continued research efforts to expand knowledge of the thousands of compounds Manuka contains, their benefits and their uses. UMFTM certification requires a Four Factor Quality Testing procedure. Nate’s offers Manuka honey ranging from UMFTM 5+ to 10+. These values are based on:

  • POTENCY: UMFTM ensures MGO is detected; stronger MGO concentrations are associated with higher UMFTM ratings. UMFTM may increase after the Manuka is packaged, which is why a “+” is included with the potency.
  • AUTHENTICITY: The presence of the anti-inflammatory compound leptosperin shows that the Manuka comes from New Zealand manuka flowers.
  • SHELF LIFE: A value of at least 70 mg/kg of DHA is necessary for UMFTM certification. Since DHA is converted to MGO, this minimum value ensures the Manuka will maintain a longer shelf life. This DHA will continue to convert to MGO, resulting in an MGO value higher than what was present at the time of packaging.
  • FRESHNESS: Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), another compound present in Manuka, ensures the honey hasn’t been overheated or stored for too long and that it’s raw.

Why doesn’t Nate’s use a KFactor grading system? KFactor is a grading system created by a single brand, without oversight from an independent testing organization or the New Zealand government. It does not measure MGO, so the potency of manuka honey sold with only KFactor grading is unknown. Also, there’s no explanation as to why the numbers in the grading system were chosen, except that they correlate to the percentage of manuka pollen experts think may be in the honey.

How does the MGO potency relate to the UMFTM rating? There actually is no direct conversion. If there were, we would just use a single number. UMFTM factors in the MGO as well as the  content of DHA, leptosperin and HMF. This is to ensure not only the quality of the Manuka honey, but the shelf life, potency and freshness.

To learn more about Nate’s Manuka, check out our product page.

Relentless Quality.
Ridiculously Good Taste.
Confidently, the Most Trusted Honey.