The grading on your Manuka honey has changed to MGO – here’s what you need to know
Manuka honey is harvested from the hives around the wild Manuka bush in New Zealand. All honey has an anti-bacterial effect, but scientists discovered that Manuka honey’s effect is far more potent than normal table honey. Studies show Manuka honey can have a positive effect on sore throats, skin conditions and digestion.
What’s changed when it comes to buying Manuka?
The New Zealand government this year changed its legislation around Manuka honey and how it’s labelled – which means that the honey you see on our shelves may look different.
Laboratory-testing for all Manuka honey
We’ve always insisted on seeing documentation proving the Manuka honey sold in our stores is genuine. That’s why the new legislation requires that any Manuka honey exported from New Zealand must now be laboratory-tested to prove it’s authentic.
The tests check for:
- four active ingredients only found in Manuka honey
- the DNA of Manuka pollen
Changes to our Manuka labels
We’re altering the labels on all our Manuka honey, so that they now carry authenticity stamps, showing that the honey has passed those stringent lab tests.
We’ve also changed the potency labelling on our Manuka honey to make it less confusing. For example, previously the potency of Manuka honey could be measured in a range of different types of activity, like ‘TA’, ‘Active’, ‘UMF’ and ‘NPA’. From now on, all Manuka honey stocked by Holland & Barrett will be labelled just with the amount of MGO (methylglyoxal) in the pot.
What is MGO?
MGO is used to measure the anti-bacterial strength of Manuka honey.
All honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which provides anti-bacterial action. However, in normal honey, the hydrogen peroxide breaks down meaning the anti-bacterial benefits are lost.
Manuka honey contains additional anti-bacterial properties, like MGO, which continue to work even after the hydrogen peroxide has disappeared. The higher the MGO, the better the anti-bacterial properties are.
Monofloral v multifloral
Manuka honey will now also be divided into two categories: monofloral and multifloral.
- Monofloral Manuka honey is made by bees foraging mainly from Manuka bushes, so it contains only a small amount of nectar from other plants. It is classed as a purer Manuka honey.
- Multifloral Manuka honey is also mainly honey from a Manuka bush, but those bees have travelled further afield so it contains a wider range of nectar from other plants.
Handpicked article: How to use Manuka Honey