Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The Viability of Manuka Honey's Rating Systems
Manuka Honey brands confuse consumers with alphabet soup, i.e. UMF, MGO, AMH, OMA, MGS, etc.
Manuka Honey is a special type of honey from New Zealand that has been found to have extraordinary healing properties. Its incredible ability to heal far supersedes other types of honey and even most traditional forms of medicine. This has made it quite a commodity as of late and has recently been discovered by the U.S. market.
The sale of Manuka Honey has developed into a $100 Million dollar per year industry with the potential of increasing significantly over the next few years. However, there is one element of confusion that has been clouding the sales of this valuable resource.
The fact is that not all Manuka Honey has medicinal qualities. If you think about how honey is produced, it makes sense. A bee lands on a flower and gathers as much nectar as it can carry back to the hive where it adds enzymes to it, producing honey. There are many different types of honey. The differences are predicated on the floral nectar component and the flower that it is derived from. Depending on which flower the bee gathers the nectar from, it could change the color, texture, flavor, consistency and medicinal qualities of the honey it produces.
Manuka Honey is so valuable because the nectar of the flowers that grow on the Manuka plant has antimicrobial properties not found anywhere else. The potency of Manuka Honey is predicated on how much or how little of the floral nectar is used by the bees in a particular batch. The only way to properly determine the potency is to perform a laboratory test to measure it.
There are some organizations in New Zealand that have tried to develop rating systems to measure the antibacterial potency of Manuka Honey. The problem is there are so many and they all claim to be the most reliable system. There has even been some bashing and name-calling in various articles and press releases. At this point, consumers don't know which rating system to trust. Some labels say UMF, MGO, AMH, OMA, Molan Gold Standard, etc. These distinctions are usually followed by a number. The higher the number, the higher the potency.
Some suppliers of Manuka Honey have tried to identify that their honey as medical-grade by calling it active or bioactive. The problem with that is if it's sold in the U.S., the FDA doesn't recognize honey of any kind as an active ingredient. Therefore, making a claim that Manuka Honey is active in the U.S. is a violation of FDA labeling regulations.
To further complicate matters, some unscrupulous suppliers are labeling their honey with a higher rating than what actually exists in the jar. They are able to get away with it because the FDA doesn't regular honey in that manner. In fact, there should be no claims on the label whatsoever indicating that Manuka Honey has curative properties.
So what should consumers do? "Stick with the companies that are well known in the Manuka Honey industry," says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International which is a U.S. importer of Manuka Honey and manufacturer of Manuka Honey skin care products. "Once you've found a reputable brand, then use a medium range." For example if Manuka Honey is not potent enough, it may not yield the same results that people have come to expect. There have also been reports of people experiencing sensitivity to Manuka Honey that is overly potent. Therefore, a medium range is optimal for most applications.
Some people think that the higher the potency is, the more effective the Manuka Honey will be. This is untrue. With higher activity Manuka honey being in short supply, experts say that the medium range is just as effective as high activity, and more affordable. For example, a UMF 10-16 will be equally as effective as a UMF 25. There is no need to find the highest grade.
For more information or to purchase quality Manuka Honey and Manuka products, call 1-866-427-7329 or visit www.HoneymarkProducts.com.